RATC releases bid package for rehab accreditation program

Sunday, March 31, 2002

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - After two years of work, AAHomecare's Re/hab and Assistive Technology Council (RATC) anticipated releasing its RFP for a rehab accreditation program the first of this month.

The council was expected to give the RFP its final nod of approval at its meeting in late March and to release the proposal on April 1, according to Mary-Lacey Reuther, executive director of RATC. The RFP, which RATC had originally planned to release Jan. 1, calls for the development of standards to measure rehab companies.

Reuther said that although the RFP will be sent to existing accrediting bodies like JCAHO and universities with rehab programs like the University of Pittsburgh, the RFP is an open call for proposals, and anyone interested should contact her at AAHomecare for a bid package. Bidders have a 90-day window to respond, she said.

"Our goal is to award a bid by Medtrade in October," Reuther said.

Gary Gilberti, who has had a hand in shaping the RFP, is excited to see the project, which has been in the works since 2000, near culmination.

"It'll be interesting to see who steps up to the plate," said Gilberti, a member of RATC and president of the Baltimore-based Chesapeake Rehab Equipment.

Proponents like Gilberti say the need for the accreditation program stems from the unique nature of rehab. Existing accreditation standards don't always apply to rehab providers. Often, they interact with customers, make deliveries and conduct evaluations very differently, they say.

Ted Malkowski, owner of the Appleton, Wis.-based Westhill Rehab, said the idea of rehab accreditation program is "a great concept" but he's holding out a verdict until standards are developed.

"We don't know yet where they're going to take this," he said. "Are they going to require a NRRTS membership? Are they going to require you be in the industry for two years? Are you going to need X amount of schooling? X amount of continuing education credits?"

The flip side to new standards could be an increase in costs for rehab providers, Malkowski said.

Proponents say there are up to 500 "true" rehab companies that could participate in such a program. HME