Supplier standards return to focus
WASHINGTON – Stakeholders are hard at work developing supplier standard recommendations that they want to have on hand once a bill to create a separate benefit for complex rehab is signed into law.
The bill stipulates that the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services consult with a stakeholder workgroup to look at creating a standard over and above the assistive technology professional (ATP), says Don Clayback, executive director of NCART.
"What we're doing proactively is setting up a group to develop some recommendations that we'll present to CMS once the legislation is passed," he said.
NRRTS board members met in August to start the brainstorming process.
Once the workgroup completes the standards, it will share a draft and solicit comments, says Executive Director Weesie Walker.
"It's still a work in progress, but we are getting much closer," she said. “We're trying to look at it from a standpoint of raising the bar, because that's part of the separate benefit category, and to look at creating a pathway for the new people coming into the field.”
To support its standards, the workgroup plans to conduct research on, for example, why only certain individuals should be qualified to provide complex rehab.
"We have to be mindful that there needs to be consumer protection,” Walker said. “That's really what it's all about—preserving healthcare dollars with people getting appropriate equipment and knowing they're working with someone who is a professional supplier."
The bill combined with standards could be a “defining moment” for the complex rehab industry, Walker says.
"As the industry has rapidly progressed over the past two decades, with all the products that are available and the technology, it's really exciting," she said.