Wheelchair Travelers

Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

The holidays are nearly upon us! And some of our workers’ comp patients who use wheelchairs — including those with spinal cord injuries — want to visit friends and family in distant areas.  This Rehab Management article offers advice for preparing them for traveling with their wheelchairs.

New Employee Spotlight: David Bedard

Tuesday, October 25th, 2022

Welcome David Bedard, our new Manager of Complex Rehab

David Bedard discovered his passion for medical equipment when he was a 17-year-old high school intern at Lowell Medical Instrument Company. This was in Lowell, Massachusetts, just north of Boston.

The company asked him to work for them after graduation, and he ended up staying 8 years. David did everything from posting payments to customer service to evaluating patients and helping them obtain equipment.

“The owner was my first mentor,” David said. “The store also carried medical instruments and I got great exposure to the rehab world there.”

After moving to Florida, David continued in the field for over 30 years. He has worked in just about every aspect of rehab technology, home modifications, and assistive technologies in retail and home health settings.

Over the years, he earned the Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) and the Certified Assessment and Modification Professional (C.H.A.M.P.) certifications. He has evaluated patients for custom mobility devices, created adaptive housing solutions, and recommended assistive technology to foster their independence and improve their quality of life. And he’s trained and managed others in the field.

Before coming to ATF Medical as Manager of Complex Rehab, he was with Orchid Medical, an ancillary provider specializing in workers’ compensation. He was a catastrophic care team leader for several years and later served as vice president of operations and vice president of quality assurance.

Now he oversees day-to-day operations and quality assurance for a team of ATF Medical’s ATPs and other professionals.

“We manage a claim from referral to finish, working through contractual agreements, evaluating patients, coordinating with the adaptive housing professionals, and ordering, delivering and fitting patients with equipment – everything,” David said. “And we communicate with claims representatives every step of the way.”

In addition, David coordinates ongoing training for our staff on products and services.

“ATF Medical has a real family atmosphere,” David said. “The culture is second to none – everyone welcomed me and made me feel like I’d been here for 20 years since day 1.”

He also appreciates company’s personal touch. “Unfortunately, this is a rare commodity these days,” David noted. “It’s refreshing to experience it as an employee and to be able to offer it to our clients and their injured employees.”

If you or someone you know is interested in joining the ATF Medical family, email Erin Zablocki at ezablocki@atfmedical.com.

Get Ready to Roll! The MWCEA Annual Conference Starts Sept. 18.

Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

MWCEA Annual Conference — Sept. 18-21

Pack those bags and head to Ocean City, Maryland for the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Education Association’s Annual Conference.

Be sure to visit ATF Medical’s Booth #82 and chat with Rick Wyche.  He’ll tell you about the latest in rehab technology and how we can customize solutions for your injured worker.

 

Support CMS Coverage of Seat Elevation for Power Wheelchairs

Tuesday, August 30th, 2022

Photo: Courtesy of Permobil

CMS is taking comments as it decides if it should cover seat elevation systems for power wheelchairs.

Among other things, Medicare requires durable medical equipment (DME) to “primarily and customarily be used to serve a medical purpose and make a meaningful contribution to the treatment of the individual’s illness or injury…when used in the home.”

Workers’ comp pros know these systems facilitate safe transfer to other surfaces and improve circulation and skin integrity– helping prevent pressure injuries (wounds.) Seat elevation also reduces the risk of muscle strain that comes from wheelchair users constantly looking and reaching upward.

The comment period, open until Sept. 14, gives workers’ comp a chance to help CMS understand these medical benefits.

There are links to great resources in Laurie Watanabe’s Mobility Management article.

Submit your comments here and email a copy to ezablocki@atfmedical.com

Other Links:

NCA – Seat Elevation Systems as an Accessory to Power Wheelchairs (Group 3) (CAG-00461N) – Submit Public Comments (cms.gov)

Industry Rallies Support During Seat Elevation Comment Period — Mobility Management (mobilitymgmt.com)

Preventing Pressure Injuries

Monday, August 1st, 2022

Pressure injuries are painful and difficult & expensive to treat…and most are avoidable.

An injured worker with a catastrophic injury has enough on their plate. The last thing they need is a painful pressure injury, also known as a wound, pressure ulcer or bedsore. Especially one that didn’t have to develop. And most pressure injuries are avoidable. ATF Medical’s Edwina Murphy discusses this in this WorkCompWire Leaders Speak article.

ATF Medical offers a comprehensive, cost-effective Pressure Injury Prevention & Intervention (PIPI) program. For more information on the PIPI, please email referrals@atfmedical.com.

Related Link:

Prevent Pressure Injuries with ATF Medical’s new PIPI Solution – ATFMedical

New Technologies Speed Wheelchair Repairs/Prevent Accidents

Thursday, July 21st, 2022
woman making an adjustment on a wheelchair

ATF Medical’s Executive Director of Sales, Marketing & Business Development Rick Wyche discusses new technologies for wheelchairs in WorkCompWire’s Leaders Speak. Learn how to harness technology to reduce the time it takes to repair wheelchairs. Other technologies help prevent pressure injuries and avoid crashing into walls and tipping over. Read the article now!

What is a CEAC and Why Are They Working on My Claim?

Thursday, June 9th, 2022

Stair lift on yellow staircase
Automatic stair lift on staircase

Standing for Certified Environmental Access Consultant, CEAC is a certification held by many professionals who develop adaptive housing solutions. Environmental access refers to the process of physically changing a home, in our case, to foster independence and functionality for an injured worker.

The concept for this accreditation arose because the market was full of remodeling contractors, interior designers, and rehab professionals–all with varying levels of understanding about home modifications. The CEAC program was created to reduce the disparity in their training and practices.

VGM Live at Home administers the CEAC credentialling program. It involves a six-part, self-study educational program, unit reviews, and a comprehensive final exam. The course prepares rehab and construction professionals to take an overall look at the injured worker and their abilities along with safety hazards, and the home environment, and recommend appropriate changes. A variety of professionals, including physical and occupational therapists, assistive technology professionals, remodeling contractors and builders, and interior designers, can take the course to qualify for the certification.

The CEAC certificate symbolizes competence that separates environmental access professionals from a para-professional trade. In addition to our CEAC-certified partners in the field, ATF Medical has three CEACs on staff.

One is our Supervisor of Adaptive Housing Karissa Peffer.  Karissa coordinates adaptive housing solutions, collaborating closely with contractors and professionals to make sure home modifications are appropriate for the injured individual’s physical condition and lifestyle.

Rachel Amentt, who is a Coordinator II in Adaptive Housing, recently received her CEAC certification. And our Executive Director of Rehab Technology, Erin Zablocki, was one of the first five people in the nation to earn the Master CEAC designation. Already a CEAC for several years, Erin took additional training in core product categories for the field to earn the Master accreditation.

ATF Medical’s professionals continue to learn and grow in their fields, and the company covers the cost of their continuing education. We do this to ensure that our adaptive housing solutions are clinically driven and outcome centric. You can spend all the money in the world on a home mod, but if it doesn’t work for the specific injured worker, it’s all for naught.

A team of specialists collaborate on each of ATF Medical’s adaptive housing projects. Assistive Technology Professionals, Occupational Therapists, and—yes—CEACs work together. We look at every angle and consider the medical equipment, assistive technologies, the home’s construction, and the person’s lifestyle before recommending an adaptive housing solution.

We’re constantly looking at new technologies and new construction methods. And we’re constantly educating ourselves so that we can equip every seriously injured worker to live their best life.

For information on our adaptive housing solutions, contact Erin Zablocki, ezablocki@atfmedical.com.

 

Rehab Management Takes a Tour of Apple’s Upcoming Accessibility Features

Wednesday, May 25th, 2022

In case you missed it, Apple is adding accessibility features to iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches. These can make big differences in the lives of injured workers.

The company is rolling out Live Captions on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac to help people with hearing impairments more easily follow audio content while streaming, using a phone or FaceTime, or video conferencing.

Apple is also introducing Door Detection to help people who are blind or have poor vision navigate new environments.

And its Apple Watch Mirroring empowers people with upper body limb challenges to use iPhone assistive features like Voice Control and Switch Control from their Apple Watches. Hand gestures can answer or end a call or pause media without the person having to tap the display.  Available later this year, these features and more are described in this article from Rehab Management.

US Senator Bob Dole – Champion of the ADA

Thursday, December 9th, 2021

ATF Medical honors the life of US Senator Bob Dole, the man who was so instrumental in passing the Americans with Disabilities Act. From his first Senate floor speech in 1969 until the ADA was signed in 1990, this World War II hero, who was badly wounded and knew firsthand what it was like to not be able to be fully functional, fought for the rights of people with disabilities. One of the country’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislations, the ADA banned discrimination based on disability in all parts of public right, guaranteeing the people with disabilities could no longer be denied access to jobs, schools and transportation. Read more here.  

Complex Medical Equipment is Not a Commodity

Monday, May 17th, 2021

This post was written by Rick Wyche, ATF Medical’s Senior Director of Business Development

Joe Paduda’s blog post on buying workers’ compensation services was dead-on. If you missed it, please take a minute to read it. Paduda discussed the fact that some people tend to look at a lot of services as commodities – and acknowledged that some of them are. He cited pharmacy benefit management (PBMs) as an example, mentioning that the larger PBMs have bigger buying power.

“In contrast, think clinically oriented services, those delivered to high-need patients, e.g., powered wheelchairs.”

Now he was singing my song!

“What matters is NOT the buying power of the supplier, but it’s the customer-centricity, depth of knowledge, flexibility, and adaptability. The power wheelchair has to be the right weight, carrying capacity, have the right functionality, fit through the right width and height, and meet the user’s functional restrictions,” Paduda continued.

I covered this topic in detail in WorkCompWire. Specialized equipment for workers with complex injuries is a high-touch prospect. Whether the company is large or small, its people need long-term, deep relationships with manufacturers, lots of education, and to stay current with the latest trends and technologies. Most important, the company has to deliver amazing service to injured workers and to workers’ comp payers.

ATF Medical’s professionals conduct clinical evaluations and leverage our in-depth product knowledge and experience when recommending the precise equipment and components for your injured worker. Considerations include:
• Current medical status and expected changes
• The living space
• Available and upcoming technologies and products
• Transportation needs
• Nursing care arrangements
• Family/support system

We have all kinds of certified specialists on staff: occupational therapists, assistive technology professionals, rehab technology specialists, environmental access consultants, durable medical equipment specialists, and home modification experts. Depending on the diagnoses, we build a team to create a unique solution for your injured worker.

And, I know everyone says “unique solution,” but there is no other way to adequately describe it. There are so many components, people, and perspectives that go into an ATF Medical recommendation. It’s not a product or a single service. It truly is a solution.

We order everything for you, handle all the deliveries and set up and oversee any renovations. There’s no deliver and drop. We make sure injured workers are fitted properly and they and their families understand how complicated equipment works and who to call with questions. We check in with them and monitor injured workers’ progress, suggest changes. We repair and maintain equipment – and we keep the adjusters, case managers, and other claims reps informed every step of the way.

Same thing with adaptive housing services. Everything is customized to the needs of a particular worker’s condition and living space and designed to work efficiently and cost effectively with their medical equipment. We’re all about increasing their quality of life and without wasting your money.

Complex injuries call for complex solutions. When that’s what you need, call 877-880-4283 or ask your home health company, TPA, or insurance company to ask for us.