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Who should repair equipment?

Who should repair equipment?

YARMOUTH, Maine – So-called “Right to Repair” bills in a number of states are raising awareness of the DMERT Group’s certification program for repair technicians. 

The bills seek to give consumers the right to purchase parts from manufacturers and repair their own products, providing an important talking point for stakeholders on the role providers and their repair techs play in making sure equipment is working properly and safely. 

“The bills so far have been broad, but if they go to the assistive technology side and if the state asks us, ‘What designations do you have,’ currently we don’t have one (that’s required),” said Matt Macpherson, chairman of the board of directors of DMERT Group. “DMERT Group is the first actual certification, but other than that there’s nothing differentiating repair techs. That puts us in a vulnerable position.” 

DMERT Group offers Level 1 certification for basic medical equipment like walkers and manual wheelchairs, Level 2 certification for complex rehab wheelchairs and basic seating, and Level 3 certification for training and exam auditing. 

DMERT Group has seen an increase in the number of providers seeking to get their repair techs certified in response to the bills, among other reasons, but other providers may still wait until it’s a requirement, Macpherson says. 

“We don’t want the industry to have to have a stick - requirements and litigation issues – but some employers are stick-minded,” he said. “So, we’re trying to offer as many carrots as possible, like leverage to get more accounts, help with liability risk and better resources toward becoming an ATP.’” 

Another carrot: fewer costs and improved outcomes with certified repair techs, says Greg Packer, who sits on the board of DMERT Group and who is president of U.S. Rehab. U.S. Rehab is collecting evidence of this in its Functional Mobility Assessment tool. 

“You need a highly skilled technician to perform repairs or you will have problems over time,” he said. “We’ll combat this.”


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