Q&A: Outcomes that matter
LITTLETON, Colo. – As the call for evidence-based outcome measurements grows louder, Ride Designs, a manufacturer of wheelchair seat cushions, has taken the lead by funding two university-led studies on the effects of orthotic-based seating on wheelchair users. Here’s what CEO Tom Hetzel had to say about outcome measurements and how they could eventually shape reimbursement.
HME News: Why are studies like these important?
Tom Hetzel: If we can show that our seating systems result in upward of 50% less deep tissue deformation compared to inflated air cushions, and show significant improvement regarding the management of heat and moisture, these are things that will shine brightly in the eyes of funders and legislators to show the validity of what we’re doing.
HME: How will these results trickle down to providers?
Hetzel: Ultimately, it will change the funding. Right now there’s too much back support and seating development being done for codes, not for need. It’s a race to the bottom—who can get something into a code at the lowest cost and the highest margin.
HME: How will outcome measurement studies impact reimbursement?
Hetzel: I think that’s a long-term goal. I really think getting a separate benefit category for complex rehab—defining and revising the coding and establishing those levels of reimbursement—is the next big step. However, when the time comes, I want to have a battery of good peer-reviewed evidence to help our argument for favorable reimbursement.