Providers say seating clinics offer a professional touch

Monday, March 31, 2003

YARMOUTH, Maine - Providers of seating and mobility equipment hold them frequently. Some use hospitals and rehab centers; others go as far as building on to their current facilities to make room. But what is a seating clinic?

Simply put, seating clinics offer an opportunity for providers and licensed physicians to meet one-on-one with clients at one location to assess the needs and recommend the right wheelchair or seating equipment for that individual.

Although seating clinics are considered a rarity among providers, Avenue Medical’s recent construction of a 2,000 square-foot facility in Dover, Del., (HME News 3/03) for such a purpose is one of several signs that a trend may be in the making.

At seating clinics licensed PTs, OTs, ATPs, and REs address such key factors as skeletal alignment, respiratory capacity, skin integrity and pressure relief requirements and overall client function capabilities. Providers offer the equipment and tech support.

“If your dealing with a referral base that is large enough, (seating clinics) are not only typical, but they’re preferred,” said Simon Margolis, National Seating and Mobility vice president.

Prior to clinics, many rehab providers grabbed what they could and traveled to a clients’ home for an in-house evaluation. A technique that didn’t always produce the best results and made reimbursements more difficult because travel time is not included.

“Before, we would bring everything to the client,” said Adam Samuel, president of Avenue Medical. “And most of the time we would not bring the right equipment for that client.”

Ann Kieschnik, owner of Seating Profiles, said its clinics are held at either their location or area hospitals and rehab facilities . “You try to take the kitchen sink when you can,” Kieschnik said about in-house evaluations. “But when (clients) come to you, you have your entire inventory.”

In-house evaluations are still conducted to address needs around the homes, but it now is part of the process with a seating clinic. Reimbursements are also easier to claim due to the referrals coming from licensed therapists.

“With (seating clinics) we are getting the maximum effectiveness of the day,” Margolis said. “It is a good business model for us all to use.” HME