RESNA unveils new ATP

Sunday, August 31, 2008

ARLINGTON, Va. - RESNA has put plans to consolidate its assistive technology supplier (ATS) and assistive technology practitioner (ATP) certifications on the fast track.

Last week, RESNA announced the name of its new certification (Assistive Technology Professional or ATP). It also outlined plans to develop marketing materials and work with funding sources to make appropriate policy changes (CMS requires that providers have at least one ATS on staff to provide certain wheelchairs).

"This is really going to simplify and increase the value of the certification," said Laura Cohen, who chairs RESNA's Professional Standards Board. "We need to promote the new certification for what it is and untie it from the roles that have been associated with the ATS and ATP."

To transition to the new certification, which demonstrates basic knowledge in assistive technology, existing ATSs and ATPs have to fill out some paperwork, but they don't have to pay additional fees or retake exams. RESNA hasn't finalized the deadline for the transition, though it's eyeing Jan. 1, 2009.

As part of implementing the new credential, RESNA also plans to: develop and release an updated test in January 2009; implement computer-based testing in January 2009; and develop and implement a specialty certification for seating and mobility by mid-2009.

More details about the specialty certification are forthcoming. On the table: developing "different pathways" for providers and therapists, and measuring knowledge and skills through things like experience, training, certificates or practicums instead of exams.

"There's a perception that we want more tests and more money, and that's not the intent," said Anjali Weber, RESNA's director of certification. "The intent is identifying the right qualified people. We need to have a defensible way to identify those people without creating undue burden."