Tennessee law spurs action in other states

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

MINNEAPOLIS - Darren Jernigan and Permobil rolled into Minnesota on the latest leg of their nationwide, state-by-state quest to enact legislation that mandates a set of quality standards for rehab providers.

Minnesota providers met in late August to draft the bill and debate was heated at times, said Jernigan, Permobil’s director of governmental affairs, who facilitated Minnesota’s meeting, as well as meetings in Virginia and Missouri.

Minnesota providers included aspects of the Tennessee law in their draft but also included an aspect overlooked by other states.

Minnesota’s bill, as it stands, would require all third-party claim reviewers, including insurance companies, to be RESNA certified so that they are knowledgeable about the technology they are buying, said Jernigan.

“I’m going to encourage them to put that in the [final] bill,” said Jernigan. “I think it was great, but we might have a little trouble with the insurance lobby on that one.”

The insurance lobby has supported the legislation in other states.

Minnesota will meet again on Oct. 15 to write a final draft of its bill. Providers plan to submit the bill to the state’s legislature at the start of the spring session in January. Virginia and Missouri also expect to present bills in January.

“We’ve been in contact with the speaker of the house in Virginia to sponsor their bill,” said Jernigan. “We will be meeting with him in September to go over the bill, to educate him on it and to make sure he is OK sponsoring it.”

Jernigan also will meet this fall with providers and manufacturers in Texas, Maryland, California and, hopefully, Illinois to guide them in the legislative process.

Included in his busy schedule of meetings was the RATC-sponsored legislative fly-in in September, where a template for rehab quality legislation for all states to use was discussed. Prior to the meeting, Jernigan was hesitant to throw his support behind the template idea.

“I think having a basic template is OK to work off of for each state,” said Jernigan. “I think a basic template for Congress is appropriate, but to apply the same template to every state is not practical in that with California, what dealers want may be different than what they want in Texas.”