Shifting the Perspective – Injured Workers First!

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

ATF Medical’s Sr. Director of Business Development Rick Wyche, ATP, CEAC will participate in the “Shifting the Perspective” webinar on Tuesday, Oct. 27. The free webinar, produced by Workfinders USA, focuses on the positive ways that patient advocacy affects workers’ compensation claims outcomes.

Rick helps workers who have experienced complex or catastrophic injuries obtain and use the most appropriate medical equipment and adaptive housing solutions for their conditions and situations. He will share how advocacy improves recovery, reduces disability, and produces the most positive experience for the injured worker.

Natalie Torres, Senior Director of Client Solutions for Workfinders USA discusses return-to-work solutions that support the return of every worker to good health and meaningful work.

Nicole Corey, ARM, CRIS, WCCP with California Work Comp Advocacy will bring her more than 20 years’ experience as an adjuster and broker claims advocate to the panel. Nicole will focus on how an approach centered on communication, collaboration and compassion helps employers and injured workers navigate the often confusing and complex claims process in California.

The free webinar starts at 1 p.m. Eastern and 10 a.m. Pacific. Register here: https://www.workfindersusa.com/shifting-perspective#Bot

Seating & Positioning Expert Joins ATF Medical

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

ATF Medical is excited to welcome Edwina Murphy, OTR, ATP as Director of Rehab Technology. A solid expert in seating and mobility, Edwina brings clinical expertise as an occupational therapist and in-depth rehab technology knowledge as an assistive technology professional. Originally from Ireland, she is based in Houston, Texas and works with our clients and their injured employees who have complex needs. Learn more.

Meet Karissa Peffer

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

Please welcome Karissa Peffer to ATF Medical. She recently became our Senior Coordinator of Adaptive Housing Solutions.

We match clinicians (usually occupational therapists or assistive technology professionals) with contractors to assess the injured worker’s condition and home and recommend cost-effective, streamlined solutions, making the best use of medical equipment and home modifications. Karissa identifies contractors, manages the estimating and recommendation processes, oversees projects, and best of all – keeps you informed of the progress. You’ll always know what’s going on with the renovations with Karissa on the case!

Learn more about Karissa here & shoot her an email to welcome her to our team – and yours!

Erin Zablocki earns Master CEAC

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

Our Executive Director of Rehab Technology, Erin Zablocki, CDME, CEAC, ECHM, just became a Master Certified Environmental Access Consultant. She is one of the first five people in the country to receive the Master certification.

Erin already held the Certified Environmental Access Consultant (CEAC) designation, which
was created to reduce the disparity in training and practice among professionals who evaluate the environmental access requirements of physically challenged people. Rehabilitation therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and remodeling contractors are among the professionals who can earn the CEAC.

The Master Certified Environmental Access Consultant training takes CEACs to the next level, enhancing their knowledge of home modifications and accessibility products. The course Erin took provided specific training on six core product categories: residential ramps, grab bars, platform lifts, stair lifts, bathroom remodels, and transfer lifts.

New products, technologies and techniques are developed all the time, and ATF Medical supports our professionals as they learn better ways to help injured workers achieve independence through our rehab solutions.

We’re extremely proud of Erin who leads our rehab and adaptive housing solutions teams. Give her a shout out at ezablocki@atfmedical.com.

 

 

 

 

Wheelchair rugby, anyone?

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

How about sky diving or bungee jumping in a wheelchair?

Our new Rehab Support Coordinator Brad Burns has done all these and more.

At the age of 24, Brad suffered severe injuries – a broken neck and spinal cord injury among them – in a car accident.  He went through two years of rehabilitation, and he knows the challenges of learning to use a power chair, migrating to a manual wheelchair and occasionally a walker.

During his recovery, he contemplated his future. Brad had worked construction before the accident and was studying to become a paramedic.  He knew those jobs were out, but he was determined to return to work.  So, he went to school and earned a degree in health information management and became a medical coder, and later became involved in case management.

While in rehab, Brad also thought about the things he hadn’t done yet.  “My biggest regret was that I’d never traveled, never even been on an airplane,” he said.  “So, three years after the accident, I started traveling by myself, first to a visit a friend in Portland, Oregon, and then on to Vancouver where you can bungee jump in a chair.  They strap the chair to you and throw you off a bridge. It was exciting.”  See his jump.

He later took a solo trip to Egypt where he saw the pyramids and ate dinner on the Nile.  “A problem on this trip became my ‘moment,’” he said.  The plane he was on was forced to turn around because of a sandstorm, and the delay caused him to miss the connecting flight.  He was stranded in Egypt, unable to speak Arabic, and staying in a hotel that wasn’t wheelchair accessible.

“I had to pop three wheelies just to get into the hotel and the elevator was barely big enough to fit the wheelchair,” he said.

Navigating those obstacles on his first international trip and getting home safely made him realize he could live a full life, and he continues to travel overseas.  He also volunteers as a peer mentor at OhioHealth, a non-profit hospital system with a peer support and spinal cord program, and frequently speaks to different groups.

Brad had played football and ice hockey in high school and his love of sports led him to Wheelchair Rugby, which he calls “controlled chaos” with bumper carts and wheelchairs on a basketball court.  His team has five tournaments a year, and he’s also participated in four half marathons.

“The great thing about sports is meeting new people.  Even if you don’t want to play rugby, it’s important to hang out with people who are similar,” he said.  “It’s good to see people in chairs who have jobs and play sports.  The mental aspect of recovery, the sense of losing your identity, takes longer than physical recovery, and it helps to surround yourself with people who have similar experiences and who have the right attitude.”

Brad’s journey hasn’t been easy.  He was in a Cleveland, Ohio hospital for five months and spent another two years in an outpatient program.  Before his injury, Brad was an athlete, a construction worker, a big guy who helped people move.  He wasn’t used to having other people help him. There were days he indulged in a 10-minute pity party, but he kept going with the support of a great family and skilled physicians and rehab specialists, including a locomotor training program sponsored by the Christopher and Dana Reeve foundation.

“If you don’t do anything, nothing is going to happen,” he says.

Although he can use a walker for short periods, Brad stays in his wheelchair most of the time and totally understands the necessity of a good fit.  “If the chair doesn’t fit you right, it can cause back pain, wounds, all kinds of problems,” he says.  “You want to be as independent as you can and need to be able to get the right tools.”

That’s why ATF Medical professionals work so hard to equip injured workers with the tools they need, including selecting the size and type of chair that fits the best and working with injured workers to ensure a good fit.  We also check back a little later to make sure the equipment is still appropriate, and we service and maintain it so we can keep an eye on things and recommend modifications or different equipment if conditions change.

At ATF Medical, Brad helps injured workers receive the right wheelchairs and other medical equipment in a timely manner by coordinating among patients, providers and insurance adjusters. We are delighted to have Brad on board and appreciate his skills and the knowledge and compassion he’s gained from personal experience.

Say hello to Brad by emailing Bburns@atfmedical.com.

 

Highly Experienced Rehab Consultant Melissa Freeman Joins ATF Medical

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

We are delighted to welcome Melissa Freeman, ATP, CEAS to ATF Medical as Senior Rehabilitation Consultant.

Melissa brings more than 30 years of experience in assistive technology, vocational rehabilitation, disability training, and seating and mobility services.  Her main responsibilities are to analyze our all-inclusive medical equipment and adaptive housing recommendations and prepare rationales for the recommended solutions.  These explanations will help adjusters better understand the equipment and housing needs and enable them to authorize critical equipment needs faster and more smoothly.  Learn more about Melissa and email her hello at mfreeman@atfmedical.com.