Q&A: Evolving education

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Elaine Stewart, branch manager for National Seating and Mobility in Fort Wayne, Ind., has been named president-elect of the National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers (NRRTS) and will take the reins in 2017. HME News recently spoke with Stewart, who has been a NRRTS registrant since 1994, about education and how far it’s come.

HME News: What’s on the top of your to-do list as president-elect?

Elaine Stewart: As a board, we’re going to continue to support and push forward with the complex rehab (separate benefit category) carve out and encourage our consumers, as well as ATPs, to get on board to help push this though. Unfortunately, with us being small in numbers, the effort has to come from everyone. CMS doesn’t hear what we are asking for to assist the clients that we work with, so the larger the voice, the better the result. 

HME: Are there any key industry approaches you would like to incorporate at NRRTS?

Stewart: When I was on the Association of Indiana Home Medical Equipment Services board, we were blessed to have quarterly meetings with our state reviewers. If it was a matter of getting a clarification on a documentation request or a code set, or implementation time frames, we were able to have an exchange. It’s important to have some sort of rapport with our funding sources to let them know where our consumers are coming from. 

HME: What’s on the horizon in terms of education?

Stewart: Education in itself has to revolve around not only the equipment we provide, but funding as well. Unfortunately, funding is what drives our ability to provide equipment to our recipients. The more we can provide broad brush strokes in terms of what insurance companies are looking for—that will be beneficial to us in the future. 

HME: You’ve been in the game since 1994. How has education changed over the years?

Stewart: It used to be that only manufactures provided education—you would go to a seminar and it ended up being mostly product-based. But more and more, other professionals, like OTs and PTs, are providing their insights into quality care. It’s been very beneficial to see their point of view—to have that third eye during an evaluation.