NRRTS adds advocate

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

TRINIDAD, Colo. - When industry stakeholders are ready to let consumers in on their plan for a separate benefit for complex rehab, NRRTS has just the man for the job.

The organization announced in January that it has appointed Andrew Davis, a wheelchair user, as its first consumer relations/advocacy intern. His No. 1 priority: To familiarize himself with the industry's efforts so far to create a separate benefit and, eventually, to educate consumer and disability groups about it.

"We want him to be the spokesman for this particular effort," said Simon Margolis, executive director of NRRTS. "It's tough for us to see the forest from the trees when we start to explain it to all the different groups that are involved."

Davis, a resident of Marietta, Ga., has worked as a patient representative for a major hospital and as an advocate for disability issues on a state and local level.

Bringing Davis onboard is just the latest way NRRTS has strengthened its relationship with consumer and disability groups. In January, it also released position papers supporting two initiatives those groups are working on: passing the Community Choice Act, which would require state Medicaid programs to cover community-based attendant services; and introducing legislation that would require gas stations to have accessible communication devices (people with disabilities would use them to alert attendants that they need help pumping gas).

"We're viewing our relationship with them differently," said John Zona, president of NRRTS. "Besides trying to help and educate consumers, we need to help them empower themselves."