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Thread: Getting a Seating Evaluation is Tough

  1. #1

    Getting a Seating Evaluation is Tough

    I live in the outer bay area of San Francisco. I need a seating evaluation to get a new back system for my power chair. Medicare requires an independent therapist, not an APT (Assistive Technology Certification) or SMS (Seating and Mobility Specialist) who works for my durable medical equipment company to perform the evaluation. My choices are:
    1. Sutter/Alta Bates in Berkeley, Wheelchair Seating and Mobility Clinic. First available appointment is January 17, 2017.
    2. John Muir Medical Center Outpatient Wheelchair Seating Evaluation Program. Booking appointment into late November. Won't allow my durable medical equipment supplier of choice to attend the evaluation. Instead, they use another supplier who is headquartered in San Diego and don't do local repairs. I need someone locally who can make adjustments and support the back system that I get.
    3. The Northern California Regional Spinal Cord Injury Model System of Care, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Booking appointments into late November, but won't give me any information about their evaluation over the phone unless they have the doctors order before them.
    4. UCSF (University of San Francisco) Rehabilitation Center in San Francisco. Won't accept an order from my doctor, because they don't accept orders from doctors outside the UCSF system. I have seen an endoocrinologist at UCSF, but I can't seen Medicare accepting a prescription for a wheelchair back system from that type of specialty.

    Other options I need to research are California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and Stanford near Palo Alto (quite a distance).

    In such a large area, I am stunned that getting this evaluation is so difficult. Anyone have any other options in the area.

    All the best,
    GJ
    Last edited by gjnl; 10-07-2016 at 10:34 PM.

  2. #2
    Have you pinged your DME of choice? This is a common issue so they may have ideas.

  3. #3
    From my experience, the center at SCVMC would be the most skilled and experienced in seating evaluations. They were a Model System Center at one time, and I knew quite a few of the people there to be very experienced in this area. You could probably have your provider just fax the order to them.

    (KLD)

  4. #4
    Can you see an appropriate doc at UCSF, who can then put in the order with the seating clinic? Gary Abrams is in the Neurology Department, with a specialty in Neuro-Rehab.

    What an incredible hassle.

    We have also had a very hard time, and we have Model System Rehab Center that my Dad has been going to for years.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    From my experience, the center at SCVMC would be the most skilled and experienced in seating evaluations. They were a Model System Center at one time, and I knew quite a few of the people there to be very experienced in this area. You could probably have your provider just fax the order to them.

    (KLD)
    Surely you could be right, but what was up with the hostility that the phone interface personnel exhibited who wouldn't answer any general questions unless they had the doctor's order in hand? Frankly, I am up to my eyeballs with the medical establishment treating me like I'm chopped liver or a potted plant!

    All the best,
    GJ
    Last edited by gjnl; 10-08-2016 at 12:05 AM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by hlh View Post
    Can you see an appropriate doc at UCSF, who can then put in the order with the seating clinic? Gary Abrams is in the Neurology Department, with a specialty in Neuro-Rehab.

    What an incredible hassle.

    We have also had a very hard time, and we have Model System Rehab Center that my Dad has been going to for years.
    I probably could make the connection you suggest, but getting an appointment with a doctor in that system would take another 2-4 months.

    Sheesh!
    GJ

  7. #7
    From their website:

    To make an adult or pediatric referral to the Rehabilitation Center please call 408.885.2032 or fax 408.885.2001.
    For outpatient referrals, please call 408.885.7106 or fax 408.885.7110.
    For either inpatient or outpatient referrals, and to schedule a tour of the Rehabilitation Center, please call 408.885.2032
    Call and ask to speak to a patient representative. File a complaint about how you were treated on the phone. Ask them to assist you to access the clinic. They need to know that their staff are providing such poor customer service.

    (KLD)

  8. #8
    In my humble opinion, Seating issues are often a priority due to the potential skin breakdown leading to massive other issues. There must be some way to have such services expanded drastically so that any SCI or otherwise paralyzed person can get prompt assistance. I feel that any rehab. hospital that treats such a person should have seating specialists readily available while the person is either in or out-patient. Wound Clinics should also have available seating specialists.

    My experience is that I once tried to get an appointment (with a prescription from my family doctor who inspected a beginning sore), only to be told they were filled up for the next 3 months! My husband and I got busy ordering various density foam and looked over old cushions on hand, and fabricated a cushion for me with a pocket area where the sore was developing.
    Don't really recommend this but glad we were able to do this and my skin cleared up.
    Suggest you go ahead and plug in an appointment at a seating clinic and meanwhile stay very vigilant about skin.

  9. #9
    Be sure that the options you look at our compatible with your power chair. This is especially so if you have power tilt and recline. Then your options are much reduced. Also, think about whether going through the whole process of getting a new back is going to be a premature battle if you're in the pipeline for a new power chair within the next few months or a year. For your payor to approve a new back and then to be hit up again for a new chair could be setting yourself up for a bit of a problem.

  10. #10
    Getting seating evaluations is tough. I am in the process of trying to get a new power wheelchair with Medicare. Although I want a chair exactly like the one I got I have to go through the whole process like a newbie. I may have to go 85 miles to a clinic. I have to assume that seating evals do not pay well since few people seem interested in getting qualified to provide the service. On the other hand maybe getting qualified is too difficult
    You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
    http://www.rstce.pitt.edu/RSTCE_Reso...imb_Injury.pdf

    See my personal webpage @
    http://cccforum55.freehostia.com/

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