Question & Answer

Thursday, February 28, 2002

Reuther takes helm of RATC

The re/hab industry's hot. After years of talk, progress is finally being made on several fronts: coding, accreditation and repair reimbursement. At the center of much of that activity has been AAHomecare's Re/hab and Assistive Technology Council (RATC). Don't expect that to change now that Mary-Lacey Reuther has taken the helm, replacing Dave Williams, Invacare's director of government relations. The association's line: Reuther may have big shoes to fill; she may be new to re/hab; and she may be young (29 years old), but she has every intention of keeping the coals burning.

HME NEWS: Tell us about the Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA), the association you worked for over the past six-plus years?

MARY-LACEY REUTHER: I was deputy executive director, which meant I did everything from running day-to-day operations to lobbying to public outreach. MDMA serves the innovative and entrepreneurial interests of the medical services industry, which is everything from a Band-Aid to a pacemaker. Basically, anything you'd find in a hospital. There were about 150 small- to medium-sized companies that belonged to the association.

HME NEWS: How are you becoming acclimated to the rehab industry?

REUTHER: Talking to a lot of people. Going to various meetings. Reading. I'm especially looking forward to the Leadership Conference in Arizona, and meeting people inside and outside the association face-to-face.

HME NEWS: Are there parallels in the two industries?

REUTHER: Reimbursement and coverage, definitely. With any technology, especially when you're trying to advance it in such an antiquated reimbursement system, you have to find new ways to get it into that system. You want the technology to survive and not to die just because it's not getting paid for.

HME NEWS: Aside from coding, accreditation and repair reimbursement, what do you have on your immediate agenda?

REUTHER: I want to continue the momentum with the initiatives you just mentioned. Some are at a real critical point. I also want to expand the RATC membership (17). I want to expand the number of rehab companies that are AAHomecare members, too (80). Finally, I want to continue RATC's role as educator by reaching out to various communities - beneficiaries, disability groups. HME