Rehab needs standards

Thursday, October 31, 2002

YARMOUTH, Maine — Various groups have been working to establish accreditation standards specific to rehab, most notably the Accreditation Commission for Home Care (ACHC), which unveiled its version at Medtrade, and AAHomecare's Re/hab and Assistive Technology Council (RATC).

According to leaders and experts in the industry, the need to expand accreditation options is critical.

In fact, according to Gary Gilberti, president of Chesapeake Rehab Equipment in Baltimore, the need outweighs any concerns of a future glut of accrediting groups seeking a piece of the pie.

"We need separate standards because there are different standards of operation and different styles of doing business between the rehab technology suppliers and the more traditional HMEs, and very different products are involved," said Gilberti, who has been involved directly or peripherally with both the ACHC and RATC efforts.

"We are trying to get the government to realize that we are a viable and accreditable and credible industry." he continued. "To get that kind of recognition of our value and importance, we need to raise the bar, and that's what accreditation can do."

"Besides, when you know someone is watching you, you work a little harder," said Tom Cesar, president and CEO of ACHC. "That's what outside peer review does—it helps keep companies more focused on what they need to do, and it encourages self-assessment."

Multiple providers of accreditation also means more choices, noted Bob Guoy, president of St. Louis-based United Seating & Mobility. And no one in the industry is well-served by only one choice, he said

"Just from a standpoint of competition, we need to see more rehab standards out there," Guoy said. "It's a business like any other, so you need the competition to make sure they stay on their toes—and to make sure the fees stay reasonable. It can get expensive." HME