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Greg Packer on ‘moral guidance’

Greg Packer on ‘moral guidance’

Greg PackerWATERLOO, Iowa – Greg Packer officially retired from U.S. Rehab at the end of the year, but he continues to have a presence in the complex rehab industry, not only at the company but also at NCART. 

Packer has a contract with U.S. Rehab and its parent company, The VGM Group, as a consultant for 18 months and he will serve as president of NCART’s board of directors in 2024 and then as past president in 2025. 

Here’s what Packer, whose career also includes roles at Pride Mobility Products and Quantum Rehab and three terms in the Kansas state legislature, had to say about why he’s passionate about complex rehab and where he will focus his last few years in the industry. 

The hook 

“The one thing that changed my perspective more than anything was a patient in Kansas City who was hit by an ambulance. She was going through a green light, and an ambulance went through a red light and hit her. She had very little (body) movement, but she had good chin and lip movement. We were able to get her in a chair with a micro switch so she could drive the chair with her chin and her lip. When we put her in that chair for the first time – she had been in bed for years – and she drove down the hallway of the nursing home, every employee was in tears. It meant a lot to her. She was so excited to go home for Thanksgiving that year and drive herself to the table and show her children. It’s things like that that really hook you into this industry.”  

The give back 

“I think we all have different ways that we do that. I felt, nationally, with some of the experience I had and the connections I have in Washington, D.C., and other places, that my give back was going to be in supporting NCART and the ITEM Coalition and the Reeves Foundation and others. I was the first non-employee on the Permobil Foundation’s board. If you’re not participating, you’re not finishing well. It’s just meaningful for me and hits a lot of (elements) of my moral guidance.” 

The unfinished business 

“Getting coverage for power standing systems is a big hole that we need to fill. Then we have a big hole on the repair side and that’s not one group’s fault. What it is, is a lack of proper funding for maintenance and preventative action versus waiting until something breaks down. If we did the same thing we do in the CRT world in the automotive world, you wouldn’t be able to drive on the interstate. It would be filled with broken-down cars and there wouldn’t be enough wreckers to take them to the service station. Those are the two things that are industry challenges that have to be addressed in an immediate fashion.”  


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