Providers mull over Permobil's efforts

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Saturday, November 30, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - High-end rehab providers are applauding Permobil's plan to raise the bar for the rehab industry, but they're not sure how much of an impact the wheelchair manufacturer's plan - if realized - would have.

In October, Permobil announced it was working on a set of standards that would restrict sales of the company's power products to dealers who employ certified rehab technology suppliers (CRTSs), which are issued by the National Registry of Rehab Technology Suppliers (NRRTS).

Doug Westerdahl, who owns Monroe Wheelchair in Rochester, N.Y., applauded Permobil for "having the guts" to make the move, and he said his peers feel the same way.

If Permobil follows through with the standards, Westerdahl said he won't be affected. He said Monroe Wheelchair carries Permobil products, but the company has one CRTS and eight rehab technology suppliers (RTSs) on board. (RTSs are NRRTS members, but they haven't taken the test for certification.)

Rehab providers said they would like to see other manufacturers follow Permobil's lead, but they would be surprised if that happened. They said other manufacturers don't specialize in high-end rehab products like Permobil does; instead, they offer a wide range of rehab products, and at the bottom of that range, are wheelchairs that don't necessarily require a certification to properly fit. HME

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