Petitioners shoot for Medtrade

Monday, September 30, 2002

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - By Medtrade, boosters of the Rehab Technology Initiative expect they'll have a handle on how many petitions their grassroots signature-gathering campaign will yield. Organizers are admitting they're not likely to hit the 100,000 goal, but say that doesn't matter.

"We'll be effective at any number," said Simon Margolis, vice president of clinical and professional development at National Seating and Mobility, one of the campaign's sponsors. "We're finding that if a congressional staffer sees 100 signatures, they'll multiply that by some kind of factor, figuring that if 100 people signed this it's worth 1,000 or 10,000 or whatever."

The petitioners are asking Congress to limit Medicare reimbursement for rehab equipment to providers who employ rehab professionals. Ultimately those credentials would include certification by NRRTS as a CRTS and by RESNA as an ATP. The initiative would not require such credentials initially.

"You can't create a system where it's going to limit access for the consumer because you want to keep a credential," said Margolis. "We're embarking on a road where the destination is CRTS and ATP."

A Certified Rehab Technology Supplier is a NRRTS member who has passed RESNA's Assistive Technology Practitioners (ATP) exam.

Fueling the RTI is a sense by rehab professionals that too much of the work they do is being performed by non-professionals and by gripes from makers of high-end rehab equipment.

"We got some good off-the-record feedback from manufactuers that said their reps were having to go out there and straighten out the problems," said Margolis. "They can't or won't draw the line in the sand until some external body creates a benchmark."

Once gathered, the RTI organizers will present their petition to sympathetic members of Congress. Others sponsors of the RTI are Quantum Rehab and Freedom Designs. HME