NRRTS promotes political activism

Friday, January 6, 2017

LUBBOCK, Texas – NRRTS celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2017, giving the organization and its registrants a morale boost in a year that it hopes to settle the score on an important complex rehab-related issue.

NRRTS, along with other stakeholders, has been trying to create a separate benefit for complex rehab for several years. In 2016, bills in the House of Representatives and Senate drew 146 and 25 co-sponsors, respectively.

“I’m hoping, in our 25th year, that we can finally get the CRT bill passed,” said Mike Osborn, co-owner of Alliance Rehab and Medical Equipment, who has been a NRRTS registrant since 2001. “That will give us the ability to change a lot of things and put us on a much higher level.”

NRRTS is known for putting seating and mobility specialists on the map with its registered complex rehabilitation technology supplier (RRTS) and certified complex rehabilitation technology supplier (CRTS) credentials. Today, its membership hovers at a steady 650—encouraging considering the shrinking complex rehab market.

To help the industry cross the finish line with a separate benefit, NRRTS plans to ramp up grassroots advocacy among its registrants in its 25th year. Details are still in the works, but the organization plans to give registrants tools that they can use to contact their lawmakers and “toot our horns,” not just as part of a legislative fly-in but on a regular basis, says Weesie Walker, the organization’s executive director.

“We need lawmakers at seating clinics; we need them in the shops of our registrants,” she said. “It’s sort of like, if you’re doing it right, you make it look easy, but the truth is, it’s not. We need to toot our horns more about what we’re doing, and we want to be a resource for that.”

With complex rehab such a small part of health care, it really needs all hands on deck, Walker says.

“We’re going through some tough times—I hear every day from suppliers, the companies they’re working for, it gets harder and harder,” she said. “With a separate benefit, we’ll finally get the recognition we deserve and that will alleviate a lot of the pain. If there’s only X of us across the country, we need a lot of them to be involved to be heard.”

Gerry Dickerson, a CRTS and ATP for National Seating & Mobility and the secretary of NRRT’s executive committee, says the organization’s efforts toward “political activism” are one of the things he’s most proud of.

“I’m a screaming loon when it comes to this stuff, but enough of us aren’t involved,” said Dickerson, a registrant since 1996. “If you touch one person, then there’s an exponential explosion. If someone can’t get the equipment and services they need, we have to have the wherewithal to tell them why and help fix the problem.”