Two associations join forces, form ADC

Sunday, August 31, 2003

NASHVILLE, Tenn. and CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Two nascent rehab associations have decided to join forces and create a separate, non-profit organization called the American Disability Coalition (ADC).

Permobil’s National Rehab Credentialling Association (NRCA) and National Seating & Mobility’s Coalition for Professional Rehab (CPR) are now working together under the leadership of Darren Jernigan, who has been named executive director of ADC.

“We’re now a consumer-driven organization with two missions: to provide independence to persons with disabilities and to professionalize the industry,” Jernigan said.

Jernigan said he envisions the new association working much like the AARP. When a person with a disability gets a wheelchair, he will automatically get a free membership to the ADC, much like when a person turns 50, he automatically gets a free membership to the AARP. (After the first year, members will pay a minimal fee.) ADC members will then receive benefits such as discounted equipment.

To provide independence to persons with disabilities, the ADC plans to keep a database of members that will allow the association to respond to their needs, “if something pops up,” Jernigan said.

“We want to be able to hire lobbying firms, rally consumers, target funding sources on their behalf quickly,” he said.

To professionalize the industry, the ADC plans to continue efforts to get states to approve standards for rehab providers. The organization also plans to bring credentialling programs to each state.

Jernigan said the ADC has commitments from each major manufacturer, and Mike Ballard, president of National Seating & Mobility, has already raised more than $100,000 for the organization. The ADC will put on events like golf tournaments to continue raising money, he said. HME