The Importance of Training Techs in the Complex Rehab Industry

Published in Complex Rehab on January 21, 2022

Worker shortages are prevalent in every sector of the economy; the complex rehab technology (CRT) industry is no exception. We have known about a growing shortage of ATPs for quite some time. Repair Technicians are also in short supply. But what is being done to help address both of these needs? Training is one of the answers.

Why is Training Important?

Training is incredibly important in the CRT industry. We work with medical devices that are quite different than your average tool in the garage or your GPS in your car or tractor. We have manufacturing specifications that are regulated by CMS, 510K, or controlled by regulatory bodies that require specific industry standards. CRT providers have a big stake in training and repair because when we sell a medical device in the medical field that is reimbursed by a government or private insurance provider, the device has safety requirements that CRT providers must adhere to. The manufacturer is under product liability, and you as a provider are also held accountable to have the properly trained staff to make sure all guidelines are followed and adhered to for best performance and safe standard operating specifications.

HME and CRT equipment is not as easy to work on as any other appliance, like a vacuum cleaner or washing machine. It is vital that the person working on it understands what it is, how it operates, and how an adjustment can affect the person’s health. Those who do not have the proper training on how to repair CRT equipment should not be able to repair or even change batteries due to potential damage to the equipment or harm to the end-user. If a consumer or untrained person repairs or works on CRT equipment, you risk voiding the manufacturer’s warranty and, in some cases, the product liability capabilities for the equipment manufacturer.

As an industry, we need to make sure proper training is established. Only those who work for companies that hold surety bonds to be able to do business with Medicare, Medicaid, and other insurance payers and those who are accredited by a reputable health care accreditation body should work on and/or deliver HME and CRT equipment. CMS and most states have laws that regulate who can provide and repair medical equipment.

According to Functional Mobility Assessment (FMA) data, 75% of all CRT end users have insurance benefits through Medicare or Medicaid. Since 75% of all patients are involved in these two healthcare systems, we must keep the integrity and standards of repair in our industry high. We must understand that not just anyone can fix what is required on a medical device like a CRT product, or even just standard DME equipment like walkers and scooters. It takes specialized training to repair medical devices. Each device has unique requirements, and we need to make sure all patients are kept safe and secure by ensuring that the technician is qualified to work on their equipment.

Standards for Repair Training

Training for repair technicians has been fairly subjective over the years. Historically, it has been limited to on-the-job training, manufacturer training, and training offered by U.S. Rehab or other industry groups. However, specific standards have not previously been in place. As the industry turns to become professionalized, argue for increases in reimbursement rates, and as we look to have a separate benefit for complex rehab, standards should be followed, not only with ATPs, but also with repair techs. Why wait for CMS to impose their policies on our industry when we can be proactive and decide what the standards should be. As an effort to establish this standard, the DMERT Group was formed. To learn more about the DMERT Group and its efforts, visit dmertgroup.com.


TAGS

  1. complex rehab
  2. education
  3. tech training

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