New book tells story of what complex rehab is all about

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mark Sullivan has seen firsthand in countries like Jordan and Colombia what happens to people who don't have access to complex rehab equipment. His new book, "Complex," features stories and photos from his international travels to promote the importance of complex rehab.

The self-published title—a follow-up to "Denied," published in 2009—also looks at what happens when people do have access to complex rehab equipment. Sullivan, global vice president for the power wheelchair and seating categories at Invacare, recently spoke with HME News about his reasons for publishing the book.

HME News: Why did you want to write this book?

Mark Sullivan: There's a big initiative in the marketplace for a complex rehab separate benefit. We have such a hard time telling our story. It's a tough one to tell, visually, and put it in a format that payers can understand. I would say, if anything, the book really was directed at people who pay the bills, to get them to understand just how involved this process is.

HME: Why is it so difficult for the complex rehab industry to prove outcomes?

Sullivan: If you really did a true outcomes study, you'd have to put 10 (patients) in a control group and not give them any product. Who would do that? But as I traveled in these developing nations, they don't have (the equipment), so essentially, in the book, that becomes the control group.

HME: How does "Complex" compare with your first book?

Sullivan: The first book was very much a general overview of what complex rehab was. With this book, what I wanted to do was take a much deeper dive.

HME: How does it go deeper?

Sullivan: The heart of the book is the case study with Mathew. I teamed up with his therapist and his supplier, Jim Nolan, and we took the reader from step 1 to step 50. What we really wanted to show: It's not just about plopping someone in a chair and making them feel comfortable or look good. It's all about making (Mathew's left hand) functional. That's how he interacts with the world, with that left hand. I also wanted to put some consumers in there and have them talk in their own words. 

HME: What do you hope readers will take away after reading this book?

Sullivan: These are good people; every one of these consumers has something to offer. They need the technology. So I wrote a fairly factual book on what these people are capable of, given the right equipment, and how much effort and skill it takes to put them in the right equipment. 

To view the book, go here