Users add their voices to efforts

Monday, March 26, 2012

WASHINGTON - United Spinal Association and UsersFirst in February launched a series of webinars that will educate consumers about wheeled mobility and advocacy. 

The webinars will help promote two new efforts: the UsersFirst Mobility Map online educational tool, and the first-ever Roll on Capitol Hill. The goal: to empower consumers and help them make their voices heard.

"I think that it's important that consumers speak for themselves with regard to the products and services that have the greatest impact on their quality of life," said Paul Tobin, president and CEO of United Spinal Association. 

The first webinar walked consumers through the UsersFirst Mobility Map, which is designed to help users understand the service delivery process, said Ann Eubank, UsersFirst executive director.

"The Mobility Map will play a big role in empowering the consumer because it guides them through the entire service delivery process--so that they can take charge in choosing the best equipment to meet their needs," said Eubank in a press release. 

Other webinars will prepare consumers for the Roll on Capitol Hill, set for June 25-26 in Washington, D.C. 

Tobin said that consumers on the Hill will advocate for the complex rehab separate benefit, as well as other programs and services that ensure those with spinal cord injuries or diseases are healthy and active in their communities.

George Gallego, a consumer and founder of New York-based Wheels of Progress, plans to speak about the consequences of a lack of accessible housing.

"I think the folks that make the decisions want to hear what the people think," said Gallego. "I'm hoping this is only the first of many trips we take down there."

Providers should direct patients to, said Tobin.