A compendium of the latest

NEWS

about care for injured workers

News

Kevin Wallace, the Wheelchair Guy for Wilson High’s Special Olympics

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

It comes as no surprise that ATF Medical’s employees are giving, caring people or that the company gives them each a paid volunteer day each year. Even before joining the company five years ago, Rehab Specialist Kevin Wallace, ATP, CRTS, threw himself into the Berks County, Pennsylvania Special Olympics.

Known there as “the wheelchair guy,” Kevin totes his tools and programmer to the event every year and adjusts wheel locks, walkers, and seats for attendees. He and his wife Kim have volunteered at the event for 20 years, to support the event and their son Connor, who has Down’s Syndrome.

“We used to bring all the area schools together for the event, but it got so large that it became too much for the kids with autism,” Kevin said, “So, now each school hosts their own and this one was held in May at my alma mater, Wilson High School.”

The event kicked off with one of the students singing the National Anthem, followed by the creed Creed for Special Olympics, which is “Let me win. But, if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” After a parade around the track, the games began. Softball toss. Wheelchair races. Running races. Long jumps. Bicycle Races.

Connor Wallace won the wheelchair race. His dad barely had time to cheer him on since he was inundated requests for wheelchair adjustments and tune-ups. Kevin worked in children’s pediatrics for 20 years before joining ATF Medical and has known some of the kids and their families for 30 years. He has a degree in Rehabilitative Science and a background in sports medicine.

“The Special Olympics is a fun and emotional day for all the kids and families—for everyone concerned,” he said. “Working with these athletes, injured workers, and others who have disabilities reminds me that everybody has challenges,” he said. “It’s what you do with them that makes the difference.”

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.

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

ATF Medical Makes Dream Come True for Dad

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

Robert was injured when a 1700-pound pallet fell on him, leaving him a complete paraplegic. Then he developed an infection in his leg that resulted in an amputation.

He had been struggling for a year trying to get his wheelchair (not from ATF Medical) to work with his lifestyle when his case was referred to ATF Medical and he met Rehab Specialist, Kevin Wallace, ATP, CRTS.

His manual TiLite TRA was fine for indoor use, but Robert needed to be able to wheel around his roughly two-acre property. Much of his land is hilly, and he likes to hunt and fish and enjoy his creek. Also, his property sits next to a national park with trails he wanted to explore.

But most of all, he wanted to be able to take his two-year-old daughter on his nature excursions.

Upon receiving the case, Kevin called Robert to discuss his injuries and capabilities, lifestyle and terrain, and his desire to bond with his little girl. Having previously worked in pediatrics, Kevin knew nothing on the market had a toddler seat attachment.

So, he went to work designing a way to attach and remove a toddler bicycle seat easily and safely. Robert and his fabulous case manager bought into the concept, and Kevin made a mount for a rack, connected it to a freewheel extension.

The big moment came when he attached the toddler seat to the chair. The expression on Robert’s face was priceless.

“His chair has a dump to it, to keep him positioned in the back of the chair, and his daughter can sit in front, facing him. He can keep an eye on her and see what’s happening in front of them,” Kevin explained.

Kevin also switched out the rims and tires with larger, sturdier rims and big knobby tires, careful to keep the seat-to-floor height. Now, Robert can easily access parts of his property that he hadn’t laid eyes on since his injury. He can also use a single handle to easily detach the freewheel device and seat, when riding without his little passenger.

This is just another example of how ATF Medical goes above and beyond to help injured employees live their best lives. With innovation and caring about the injured person’s desire to enjoy the outdoors and introduce nature to his little girl, Kevin made Robert’s desires a reality.

CEAC Certification Goes to Karissa Peffer

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Our Senior Coordinator of Adaptive Housing Solutions Karissa Peffer recently received the Certified Environmental Access Consultant (CEAC) certification. Karissa, who coordinates adaptive housing solutions, works closely with contractors and rehabilitation specialists and therapists, to make sure injured workers’ home modifications are appropriate for the injured worker’s physical condition and lifestyle.

The CEAC course covers the impact of a disability on home and work environments as well as function and safety, along with legal and ethical obligations. Learn more here.

Applying that knowledge to housing solutions within the workers’ compensation industry requires creativity, clinical knowledge, logic, and a great deal of organization. “Karissa has them all,” said ATF Medical’s Executive Director of Rehab Technology, Erin Zablocki, CMDE, CEAC, ECHM. “The CEAC designation tells our clients and future clients that Karissa is highly qualified to help them customize solutions that maximize their injured workers’ independence, physical capabilities, and enable them to enjoy life to the fullest.”

ATF Medical strongly supports continuing education, giving its team members time off to attend courses like this and reimbursing fees.  We want to make sure our clients receive the most innovative solutions possible.

Join us in congratulating Karissa.  You can contact her at Kpeffer@atfmedical.com.

 

Don’t modify a home without an OT/ATP

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

Considering a home mod without clinical input? What could go wrong? Unnecessary changes and expenses? A shower chair that hangs out of the shower? Complete kitchen renovations and upgrades, when minor changes would work? ATF Medical’s Erin Zablocki tells you how to make sure your adaptive housing programs fit the injured worker’s condition and lifestyle in this WorkCompWire article.

No Commodities in Complex Care

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

WorkCompWire recently published Rick Wyche’s thought-provoking article on selecting sophisticated medical equipment for complex claims. “It’s not about the cost of a single item,” he says. “It’s about delivering a total solution – the right care, education and equipment to facilitate the highest levels of functionality, mobility and independence for a specific person.” How do you get there? It’s a  high-touch proposition, requiring clinical evaluation, in-depth product knowledge, and experience. Learn more here, and email Rick.

ATF Medical Response to COVID-19

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

Considering the unprecedented pandemic, we wanted to update you all on some changes we are implementing at ATF Medical. Our priority is safeguarding the health and well being of our employees and the patients we serve. As such, the following changes are in effect immediately:

1) ATF Medical has cancelled all non-essential travel and most of our staff are
working remotely to help stop the spread.
2) We will be utilizing our tele-health video conferencing system whenever
appropriate to diagnose and repair equipment as quickly and efficiently as
possible.
3) When necessary, a technician may be deployed to assist patients in person. It is highly likely that we will experience service delays as many of our long-term network partners are sheltering in place and not available to complete site visits.
Whenever possible, equipment will be assessed outside of the home, in a garage or front porch to avoid contact as much as possible.

As is the case everywhere, we are continually monitoring the situation and will provide updates regarding changes in our procedures as needed.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

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!

 

Contact us today!

Our expert staff is ready to oversee the selection, fit, client education and user satisfaction. We take the long view - responding to inquiries promptly and staying in touch, one-on-one - for the duration of the injured workers’ recovery.