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Thread: What company prescribed your chair

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    What company prescribed your chair

    Hi, is anyone able to point me to the major prescribers of manual wheelchairs in the USA?
    I am a product manufacturer (from New Zealand) currently in the USA at the mobility dealers conference. May I explain here why it may be in your (users) interest to help me on this one?
    We have an innovative product which mobility dealers are reluctant to make visible to users and OTs, as they have rather strong links with the entrenched product providers, but we simply want you folks to be aware of what we have so you can have an informed choice.

    If, while here, I can visit the big companies that prescribe chairs I can perhaps encourage visibility of our solution. I'm not mentioning it here, as this is the wrong forum, but would some users be prepared to comment on chair prescribing companies?
    Thanks for your consideration of this!
    Greg, in Florida at NMEDA, Feb2017.

  2. #2
    By far the largest prescriber of manual wheelchairs in the USA is the Veterans Administration (VA). The VA has medical centers all over the country; visit one near you to learn to whom you need to speak.

    Daytona Beach Med Center

    Better yet, because they're VA SCID Centers:

    James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital - Tampa, Florida
    or
    Miami VA Healthcare System
    Last edited by chasmengr; 02-15-2017 at 07:12 PM.
    Chas
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

    "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."
    <
    UNKNOWN AUTHOR>

  3. #3
    The prescribers are, in addition to the VA, physicians, primarily in private practice. Recommendations for wheelchairs come primarily from physical therapists and occupational therapists, but the prescription must be signed by a provider (ie, usually a physician). If you are asking instead about who FUNDS the wheelchairs, that would be primarily Medicare, Medicaid, various worker's compensation companies, and private insurance, as well as private pay by the end user. Since we do not have socialized medicine in this country, there is not a single payor or prescriber. Even the VA varies widely from facility to facility in which products they prescribe; all of which need to be on VA/GSA (USA government) contract; and a strong preference is given for products made in the USA.

    (KLD)

  4. #4
    These are the top nine rehabilitation hospitals in the United States as listed my Guide Med.com:

    9 Best Physical Rehabilitation Centers in the US

    1) Shepherd Center ? Atlanta, GA

    First on the list of the best physical rehabilitation centers is the Shepherd Center, of Atlanta, GA. The Shepherd Center has been treating patients since 1975 and is currently set up to house 156 patients at a time. Every year, over 1,500 patients pass through the center?s inpatient program, and another 6,600 patients seek on an outpatient basis. The center, which is a not-for-profit foundation, has adopted a strict focus and specializes in physical rehabilitation of neurological and spinal patients. This specialization puts them in the satisfying position of being able to attract some of the best talent in the nation. This is the physical rehabilitation center to go to for spinal damage, degenerative neurological disorders, and recovery after brain surgery. The numbers bear out their reputation, as the Shepherd Center enjoys one of the highest return-to-home, and return-to-work, ratios in the country.

    2) MossRehab ? Philadelphia, PA

    MossRehab, in Philadelphia, PA, also specializes in spinal and neurological physical rehabilitation. Unlike Shepherd, however, MossRehab doesn?t focus on a single discipline. The facility, ranked among the ten best in the nation for physical rehabilitation by US News and World Report, is set up to treat neurological disorders, such as stroke, aphasia, mobility issues arising from spinal trauma, and more. It also has a reputation as one of the best physical rehabilitation centers in the Philadelphia area for patients recovering from amputations, orthopedic disorders, and surgery. The physical rehabilitation center offers physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. It even offers a sports rehabilitation program for injured athletes.

    3) Rusk Rehabilitation Center ? New York City, NY

    Dr. Howard A. Rusk is widely regarded as having been the father of modern physical rehabilitation medicine. Today, the facility he founded in 1948 bears his name. The Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (as it?s been known since 1984) is now spread across multiple locations in New York City and accepts patients from all walks of life. This institute treats just about any physical rehabilitation issue you could name. Being one of the first facilities of its kind in the world has given the Rusk Center a crucial head start over other centers. Its world-class staff is capable of providing long-term care for neurological injuries and disorders, orthopedic physical rehabilitation, burns, aphasia, and cognitive or sensory disorders caused by damage to the brain and spinal cord. In addition to this already impressive portfolio, the center is also proud of its commitment to restoring patients to a normal life by using prosthetics, providing aural therapy for people with cochlear implants, and even offering driving lessons for newly disabled people who want to get back on the road. Rusk was also the first physical rehabilitation center to routinely offer treatment to children with disabilities.

    4) Craig Hospital ? Englewood, CO

    Craig Hospital, in Englewood, CO, lacks the prestigious reputation of the Rusk Institute, but it more than makes up for it with a vigorous approach to treating spinal and neurological injuries. The facility is a not-for-profit physical rehabilitation center that?s achieved a nationwide reputation as the go-to place for post-op, post-trauma, and congenital disability physical rehabilitation. Indeed, the 93-bed facility treats so many out-of-state patients every year that the center has found it expedient to provide accommodations for visiting families. Popularity aside, the quality of the physical rehabilitation Craig Hospital provides has set the pace for the western region since rankings began in 1990. More than anything else, the secret of the hospital?s success lies in the team-oriented approach to physical rehabilitation that Craig has practically made a trademark. Not only does the physical rehabilitation center integrate care across a number of medical specialties, and not only does it also integrate the levels of care, from practitioner to nursing to allied health, but the center also brings in your family, your friends, community members, and fellow patients to create a web of support that?s as large and robust as you would want. The hospital does everything it can to provide effective physical rehabilitation to patients.

    5) Spaulding Rehabilitation ? Boston, MA

    The Spaulding Rehabilitation Network in Massachusetts is also a great choice for anyone who needs physical rehabilitation. This network, also ranked as one of the best rehabilitation centers by US News and World Report, maintains a constellation of six inpatient physical rehabilitation centers and over twenty outpatient outreach facilities. As the official teaching partner of the Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spaulding certainly has a reputation to uphold. It does this by reaching out across a comprehensive network of hospitals, research centers, and graduate study programs to apply the very latest in physical rehabilitation theories into the practice of physical medicine.

    6) Mayo Clinic ? Rochester, MN

    The quality of care you?ll get at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, MN, is so renown that it has become a clich?. When you?re looking for a quick reference for the highest level of medical care you can think of, the Mayo Clinic pops into your mind unbidden. There?s a reason for its stellar reputation. The Mayo Clinic is consistently rated as being one of the best medical facilities on Earth, and people from all over the world clamor to go there for treatment. The physical rehabilitation center in Rochester takes advantage of its affiliation with the larger Mayo network (the actual clinic consists of three hospitals in southwestern Minnesota) to bring the best in physical rehabilitation, neurological care, and aftercare, including hospice and end-of-life care. Mayo has satellite locations around the country that can continue to provide its standard of care after you return home.

    7) University of Washington Medical Center ? Seattle, WA

    The University of Washington Medical Center was an early adopter of the physical rehabilitation model for subacute care. Its physical rehabilitation center was founded in 1957 and has been serving the Seattle area ever since. As a teaching facility, the UWMC is able to bring its large staff of experienced rehabilitation and orthopedic medicine specialists together with an eager crew of interns and medical students, which has the effect of enlarging the pool of available staff still further. The UWMC even offers a PhD. program in Rehabilitation Science, making it one of the more desirable locations for ambitious young therapists to seek training. With an emphasis on research, the center keeps on the cutting edge of physical rehabilitation theory by partnering with the NIH and other granting institutions to develop newer and more effective treatments for orthopedic, neurological, and occupational medicine.

    8) TIRR Memorial Hermann ? Houston, TX

    TIRR Memorial Hermann, is the premiere physical rehabilitation center in the Houston area. It?s the official teaching unit of the Baylor College of Medicine, and it draws some of the best talent in the field. TIRR offers above-average physical rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury as well as common orthopedic care. This physical rehabilitation facility also offers treatment to patients with multiple sclerosis, helping them to improve their overall quality of life.

    9) Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago ? Chicago, IL

    Topping the list is the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC). The RIC provides revolutionary physical rehabilitation to thousands of patients every year. The institute covers a broad range of cases, including brain and spinal cord injuries, stroke rehabilitation, pediatric care, cancer rehab, sports rehabilitation, back and spinal care, arthritis, and even women?s health. The RIC has consistently been ranked first among the best physical rehabilitation centers in the US since 1991.

    You might also include the Kaiser Permanente facilities which are mostly in the western region of the United States.

    But, while you are here on Care Cure Community, and in the Vendor forum, why not post information about and pictures of your product here. Educated consumers, often ask physicians, occupation therapists and physical therapists about products and are your best word of mouth advertising.

  5. #5
    You can also find those who prescribe or recommend wheelchairs at major professional organization conferences, where they have paid vendor fairs. This would include organizations such as RESNA (Rehab Engineering Society of North America), APTA (American Physical Therapy Association), AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association), ACRM (American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine), APMR (Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation), etc.

    For SCI specifically, I would also include ASIA (American Spinal Injury Association) and ASCIP (Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals) for their annual interdisciplinary conferences vendor fairs. You can get information on upcoming conference for all these organizations on their websites.

    In addition, you can find users directly through the Abilities Expos: http://www.abilities.com/expos/

    Keep in mind that SCI is a small percentage of wheelchair prescription and sales in the USA. Many people with other disabilities, many who never are seen at a major rehabilitation centers (stroke, amputation, TBI, arthritis, etc. etc.) also are prescribed wheelchairs by their providers, most of whom are not specialists in rehabilitation medicine.

    (KLD)

  6. #6
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    Wow, thanks guys, great info!
    Interesting, I was thinking some of the assessment companies I found on the web (NSM Seating, Numotion) may be significant players.
    Any comments on such companies?

    I do understand that there are a great many that use manual chairs and don't drive, and our product is about independent driving (stowing the wheelchair in the trunk from driver's door) is mostly only relevant if you drive. (If you are curious search for Abiloader)

    VA I gather are a bit of a challenge in that they are independent in each state, and you need to approach all 50-odd of them, as there is no overview role anywhere! In the time I have in the country cannot quite manage that sort of a road trip...

    I will go to the Atlanta Shepherd centre I think, any contact people there you know of to start from? Starting w/o a contact can be quite difficult.
    And I fly back to NZ via Houston so could try that one...

    Many thanks. Greg E

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by grege View Post
    Interesting, I was thinking some of the assessment companies I found on the web (NSM Seating, Numotion) may be significant players.
    Any comments on such companies?
    These are probably some of the top durable medical equipment distributors, but you asked about prescribers, which in the united states would be a doctor.

  8. #8
    VA I gather are a bit of a challenge in that they are independent in each state, and you need to approach all 50-odd of them, as there is no overview role anywhere! In the time I have in the country cannot quite manage that sort of a road trip...
    No, that is not the case. There are 168 Veterans Affairs hospitals in the USA, in nearly every state, but these are federal facilities, and regulated through the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. Out of these, there are 24 SCI Centers, each assigned to a region of the country (which may include multiple states). VA contracting and pricing for wheelchairs, as with other DME, is done through the VA Central Office in Washington DC.

    It sounds like what you are selling is not actually a wheelchair, but equipment used to adapt a vehicle. If that is the case, then there are some significant limitations on what insurers will pay, if anything, for such equipment, outside of workers' compensation. In the VA, vehicle modifications are limited to those who have service connected disabilities for the most part (the Veteran must still purchase the vehicle), although some non-service connected veterans are eligible for modifications that allow them to ride as a passenger (such as a ramp and passenger side tie downs) but not for hand controls, etc. etc. etc.

    (KLD)

  9. #9
    I searched and found this youtube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LyPHIrG_9k

    It is doubtful that doctors would get involved with this device. It isn't a primary mobility, medical device like a wheelchair or scooter that needs a prescription and that would be considered as covered by insurance. I think your better approach would be to contact companies that convert vans and cars for wheelchair drivers and passengers. Some may be interested in becoming a dealer/installer/repair service for the product.

  10. #10
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    Thx, yes I may be used to different setups in other countries, or using wrong terms for your situation. My point is that when a chair is recommended, the recommender should take into account other aspects other than just the fit of the chair to the person's size etc, but also their desired vehicle and methods of chair handling (manual/ dismantle / hand stow, roof top car storage device (folding chair only) or ramp into the vehicle and an internal transfer. etc).
    The crux of my situation is that the Abiloader, as in the video you correctly found, is an option that is not well known, but people could opt for. You folks are clearly thinking mostly VA, but there are others also who will be getting advice on options that could also be interested to know this exists.
    As to the mobility dealers, they pretty much universally will not offer this, if they think they can sell a more expensive / profitable new van. I am trying to find ways to simply expose my offering for people to choose or not, based on its price / function / convenience. Likely it will only be picked up by a small proportion, for many it may be too costly, but that is no reason to discount it altogether.
    I suspect it is not widely known how the mobility industry is driven, and how selective the availability of products here available elsewhere in the world is, and why.
    I'm hoping to visit someone at the Atlanta Shepherd centre, and also in Houston as my next ports of call. I'd be happy to met with anyone over a drink who wanted to understand an external perspective of the situation! Flying out of Orlando tomorrow I expect.
    We are a tiny company from a long way away, trying to find a way to allow choice of our product where it fits in a number of countries - just met a guy yesterday that wants it, he is set to proceed, but I think there are many more that would like to at least know of it. I came over here because of a Nashville family who is determined to have it for their daughter. Of course they found us not from an advisor but from an internet search!
    I am seriously thinking of using custom hot-rod modifiers to install the product because of the brick-wall I get from the mobility industry. We have a handful in use in the usa, and great testimonials, the problem is I cannot afford to offer it unless I have a viable process that makes it known to people and can get it fitted in their state without having to fly over to persuade a dealer to take it on in he interested of customer choice.
    Anyway, maybe that better describes the links I am trying to make and why. As a note, we have faced the same slowness of uptake of advisors in other countries as well, and in New Zealand where we are it took 4 years or so to get OT's to seriously have it on their list of solutions. But we do not have the same resistance from dealers to be installers!
    Many thanks for your ideas, I'll keep trying over the next few days...

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