State seeks certification

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - A bill in the Oklahoma legislature proposes that therapists and ATSs must be involved in providing power wheelchairs to Medicaid recipients beginning April 1, 2009. The bill, HB 2703, passed the state's House of Representatives recently and now seeks approval in the Senate.
Provider Gail DeWitt says the bill would go a long way toward improving quality of care and holding providers accountable.
"Currently, there's no recourse for a provider that puts out the wrong chair," said DeWitt, director of assistive technology services for Westmont Medical Services in Tulsa, Okla. "It's like, I'm an RN, so I have a license that I'm accountable for. When you don't have a license or the background-the proven background, by way of testing-to provide this equipment, you can do grave damage."
If HB 2703 passes the Senate, Oklahoma will join a handful of other states with laws or policies in place that ramp up requirements for providing power wheelchairs. Medicare began requiring providers have at least one ATS on staff to sell certain power wheelchairs April 1, 2008.
Because of the Medicare requirement, most providers would not have difficulty meeting the requirements outlined in HB 2703, industry stakeholders say.
That's why Teresa Tisdell, an OT/ATP in Oklahoma who calls HB 2703 a "good start," eventually wants the state to require that therapists conducting power wheelchair evaluations be ATP-certified.
"I think it's important that an ATS is there and that a therapist is involved, but I think the future still holds a lot," she said. HME