Quantum leaps into new standards

Friday, February 29, 2008

EXETER, Pa. - Quantum Rehab laid down the law in January, releasing a new set of provider standards intended to raise the industry's professionalism and to make sure end-users receive the equipment that best suits their needs, said company officials.
"We took a real close look at our (old) standards, and while they were guidelines, too many things were a bit vague," said Cody Verrett, Quantum's national sales director.
The new guidelines leave nothing to the imagination, and they are mandatory, he said. If Quantum discovers that a provider is not following the guidelines exactly, the company "reserves the right to rescind existing provider status or decline new applications to provide our rehab products."
Additionally, "we listened closely to our providers and implemented a standard that gives us the right to protect certain markets," said Ted Raquet, vice president of domestic sales. That means if Quantum considers a market saturated--that the available business won't support additional providers--"we have the ability to refuse to open a new provider to protect the interests of loyal independent providers."
In all, Quantum, a division of Pride Mobility, has eight new standards. Among other things, the standards state that: Quantum products may not be sold over the Internet; effective April 1, Quantum products must be provided by a supplier that employs an ATS or ATP; a provider or employee must not be excluded from a federal or state healthcare program.
Tim Pederson, owner of WestMed Rehab in Rapid City, S.D., called the standards "excellent."
"That is exactly what we need from our manufacturers to support the complex rehab industry," he said. "It will eliminate a lot of the black eyes that we get as an industry for inappropriate equipment applications."
While providers and other industry watchers give Quantum high marks for publishing the standards, they follow closely new CMS requirements. Given that, Simon Margolis, executive director of NRRTS, "guaranteed" that manufacturers that don't have published standards will soon follow Quantum's lead.
"In the past, manufacturers were hesitant to set up standards because they had nothing to hang their hats on--any kind of government regulations," he said.
Standards are great but "you have to be prepared to enforce them and not deviate," said Jerry Keiderling, vice president of The VGM Group's U.S. Rehab. Otherwise, it will greatly damage the manufacturer's reputation.
"The first time a larger opportunity comes their way and doesn't meet the standards, and the rep says to himself, 'Wow. I'm going to go ahead and pass you but don't tell anyone.' At that point it can turn around and bite you because once you deviate, the rumor mill starts," Keiderling said.