Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Q. So many changes have occured in the power mobility market over the past few months. How viable is this market going forward?
A. Very viable. Recent reports have speculated the power mobility market could top $5 billion by 2012. CMS has some concerns with our industry, but I feel there is much we can do collectively to maintain our presence and be part of this growing market. Moving forward we need to show payers, clinicians and the public that we are a legitimate group. Here are a few things we need to work on:
* Get RESNA and/or CRTS certified. Whether you agree with this certification or not, it is what CMS recognizes because there are no alternatives.
* Embrace and police a standard of practice for suppliers. That means having your company accredited and certifying employees who interact with clients and other healthcare providers. This includes referring out business that you are not qualified to handle.
* Begin to develop a uniform educational curriculum at the academic level for new suppliers. This is a critical component in becoming a legitimate healthcare profession.
* Identify a uniform means of measuring outcomes. CMS looks to the research literature when considering coverage policies, and better outcomes should result in better policies with better allowables.
* Support lobbying activities by becoming members of your respective organizations. They are your voice, and the larger the voice the more likely policy-makers will listen.
* Maintain quality at all costs. It is easy to take shortcuts in the current reimbursement environment. But doing this will result in losing credibility with the public.
My concern is if we do not seriously consider these actions, we'll be cut out of the industry's future, resulting in a one-size-fits-all mail-order industry with no sense of professional service behind it. hme
Mark Schmeler, Ph.D., OTR/L, ATP, is on the faculty of the Department of Rehabilitation Science & Technology at the University of Pittsburgh. Reach him at