RESNA sees smooth transition

Saturday, February 28, 2009

ARLINGTON, Va.--Nearly 3,000 people have successfully transitioned to the new Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) certification, RESNA reported in late January.

That means nearly 70% of existing ATSs and ATPs have already received their new ATP certificate, officials said.

The new certification, which replaces the assistive technology supplier (ATS) and assistive technology practitioner (ATP) certifications, became effective Jan. 1. It demonstrates basic knowledge in assistive technology.

While there is no deadline for the conversion, RESNA urges members to complete the process as soon as possible to prevent problems with prior authorizations or reimbursement.

Funding sources, including CMS, have changed their policies to reflect the new certification, officials said. CMS updated its quality standards and reissued the local coverage determination for power mobility devices, which requires providers to have at least one ATP on staff to provide certain wheelchairs.

“If they have not already done so, people need to actively convert their certification,” said Laura Cohen, chair of RESNA’s Professional Standards Board.

With the new certification in place, RESNA has now begun to explore the specific knowledge required to provide comprehensive seating evaluations. As part of implementing the ATP certification, RESNA stated it would develop and implement a specialty certification in seating and mobility sometime this year.

But first, RESNA plans to meet with providers to identify their needs and determine if there is a unique body of knowledge that can be tested. The current ATP certification may be sufficient, officials said.

“We’re hearing there are some who feel they already earned this RESNA certification and they certainly don’t want to go through the process again,” said Anjali Weber, RESNA’s director of certification.

But nothing is set in stone.

“It’s not decided if it really needs to be tested,” she said. “It could be an application process.”