RESNA Annual Conference - 2020

Professional Perspectives on Clinical Tools

Bethany L Semancik, Vince J Schiappa, Mark R Schmeler

University of Pittsburgh, Department of Rehabilitation Science & Technology


Complex Rehabilitation Technology (CRT) is the provision of medically necessary devices that require evaluation, configuration, fitting, and programming for a unique individual (NCART 2019). However, medical documentation for this process can be just as complex as the technology itself. One of the largest problems the world of CRT faces is that of funding and reimbursement for the technology that its clients need. Documentation is not uniform from clinic to clinic, and it can be difficult to numerically measure client need for different devices. In 2019, the estimated average time from initial evaluation to the delivery of equipment was 103.29 days (Schmeler, 2019). This is 100 days of people with mobility impairments using old or broken equipment, or no equipment at all. Clients often suffer during this time, while their risk for falls, decreased social participation, and reliance on others is extended for months. This paper aims to start the conversation regarding how to better measure client need, in order to decrease the amount of time that clients wait for their equipment while insurance deliberates on funding and documentation.



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Thanks to those who contributed to the idea for this paper, and the list of tools used: Mark Schmeler, PhD, OTR/L, ATP, Richard Schein, PhD, MBA, and Joseph Straatmann OTD, ATP. Thanks to Vince Schiappa, MS, ATP, for co-presenting at the polling sessions, as well as for his assistance with analysis of the data. Thanks to Kaila Grenier, MS, and Mauricio Arredondo, MS, for co-presenting at the polling sessions.