NRRTS backpedals on new standards

Friday, March 2, 2012

WALSENBURG, Colo. - NRRTS released new standards for its Certified Rehabilitation Technology Supplier (CRTS) credential in early February, but after a backlash from registrants, it's holding off from implementing them. 

In addition to existing standards, NRRTS wanted registrants to earn points through, among other things, volunteering, outreach and advocacy to promote complex rehab.

Registrants like Corey Clonts don't support the new standards because they would mean putting in more time, effort and money into maintaining a CRTS credential. That's a big deal for Clonts, who is the only assistive technology professional (ATP) at LTC Providers, which serves a large rural area in Missouri. 

"We're barely surviving as it is, and to fork over more money to send you further from work with no one to back up while you're gone?" said Clonts, operation manager. "I think it would be more beneficial to sit down and take an exam, and keep credentials by getting so many CEUs per year."

Initially, NRRTS wanted to implement the new standards January 2013. 

Simon Margolis, executive director of NRRTS, believes the backlash is due, in part, to a lack of marketing on his organization's part.

"We talked about the process, but we didn't talk much about the purpose," said Margolis. "That didn't give people the whole picture, so when they were judging it, they didn't necessarily judge it in our favor."

So what's the purpose? NRRTS wants to raise the bar to make the CRTS credential more relevant as stakeholders seek a separate benefit for complex rehab, Margolis says.

"For us to become a player in the credentialing process when the separate category is adopted, we have to have a very specific program that's reproducible, defensible and measurable in terms of the way we're going to go about credentialing people," he said.

NRRTS plans to publish a white paper on the new standards and offer a webinar this spring to reach out to registrants for input, Margolis says.

"We have to make sure that everything on that list has something positive to add to the individual's practice," he said.

Registrant Dave Nix is trying to keep an open mind about the new standards. 

"Initially, when I heard about the new standards, I wasn't really excited to do more or document more to continue my certification," said Nix, owner of Birmingham, Ala.-based Alabama Wheelchair Specialists. "Now I want to hear more. I feel hopeful they'll come out with a good explanation."