United Spinal leader to speak at CELA 2012

Monday, November 21, 2011

WASHINGTON - Paul Tobin is ready to share a new perspective with CRT providers: the user's. He'll get his chance at CELA 2012, set for April 18-19, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel-Crystal City, as keynote speaker. Tobin, president and CEO of United Spinal Association, recently told HME News why he thinks end users and providers need to work together. 

HME News: What is the goal of United Spinal?

Paul Tobin: Our mission is to improve the quality of life and independence of people with spinal cord injury and disorders. 

HME: How does CELA fit into that goal?

Tobin: For people who have mobility impairment, if you don't have access to the right piece of equipment, then you likely can't access other things that lie beyond the threshold of your home. If we have somebody that has their independence and quality of life compromised because they don't have the right piece of equipment, that's where CELA fits in. It's probably the strongest singular opportunity for people in this community to be part of the discussion in the most meaningful setting.

HME: What is your goal at CELA?

Tobin: I look forward to the opportunity to work with the supplier community and do everything that we can to make sure that this industry continues to survive and thrive. I believe that's in jeopardy unless we, as a larger community of both suppliers and end users, really work together. I think that for the sake of political expediency and budgetary gimmickry, this industry is being threatened, and we really need to make sure that doesn't happen. The implications would be dire on all sides of this market.

HME: How is United Spinal empowering those end users to speak for themselves?

Tobin: We are strong believers that it's necessary for the grassroots component of advocacy to be awakened in the disability community. And we think that Users First, New Mobility and National Spinal Cord Injury Association--three programs that have all been added recently to the United Spinal Association--complement the strong formal advocacy that United Spinal has had in its long history.