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Q&A: Elaine Stewart on seeking recognition 

Q&A: Elaine Stewart on seeking recognition  ‘We’re sitting at the table now when we used to be buried under the rug’ 

Elaine StewartFORT WAYNE, Ind. – Elaine Stewart, an ATP, CRTS, for National Seating & Mobility, has been involved in a leadership capacity at NRRTS for about 15 years, working her way up from chair review to past president, so when she says it’s important to be involved, she walks the talk.  

Stewart, who, along with Carey Britton, was recently named a Simon Margolis Fellow, talked with HME News about why NRRTS is instrumental to the complex rehab industry and why she thinks the organization’s registrants deserve more credit. 

HME News: What does it mean to receive an award with Simon’s name on it? 

Elaine Stewart: When I found out, I teared up like a little baby. I was speechless. When Simon got involved in NRRTS, we were still a fledgling organization, and his passion and energy really made us a known entity in the industry. Today, we have certifications, education, guidance, advocacy. I’ve been so blessed to be part of this group and I consider the people leading NRRTS to be my favorite people in the world. 

HME: What prompted you to get involved in NRRTS? 

Stewart: I feel it’s important for everybody to get involved. People are so busy, and most don’t like to volunteer their time, but I’m so much better off for being involved in NRRTS. Sadly, I’m not a ferocious reader and being part of NRRTS means I can get information in different formats. Beyond that, I wanted to be part of something bigger.  

HME: What do you see as one of NRRTS’s biggest accomplishments? 

Stewart: I’d have to say we’ve always been striving for better education, and I must pass all the kudos onto (Weesie Walker, executive director) and the staff at NRRTS. The ATP credential is a baseline requirement in my opinion. It’s the continuing education that develops the in-the-know ATPs for the future. I’d also have to say we’re making better strides to ensure consumers are taken care of through increased advocacy on Capitol Hill. We’re sitting at the table now when we used to be buried under the rug. 

HME: What’s a challenge that you see still out there? 

Stewart: I would love for insurance companies to recognize that a CRTS is part of the medical model and they’re not a salesman. I’m a horrible salesman; I’m not someone who will push a product because it’s a means to an end for myself; I recommend products because I know it will make a difference in the life of a consumer. I’d also love to see us get paid for our time. Insurance companies say, “You sold the equipment,” and they have no idea it took five days to coordinate, to educate, to fit. That’s never recognized. 


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