Alliance Seating & Mobility home-grows ATPs

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas - Sixty percent of The Scooter Store employees who have participated in its new program for prospective assistive technology professionals (ATPs) have passed the exam.

"It's a tough test, so we're excited to get this kind of pass rate," said Scott Higley, vice president of The Scooter Store's complex rehab division, Alliance Seating & Mobility.

The industry estimates that, on average, about 50% of providers pass the ATP exam. (Clinicians and therapists fare better--about 85% of them pass the exam.)

The program was developed by one of Alliance's ATPs, with help from the University of Pittsburgh. The philosophy behind the program: Studying the exam in "easy-to-digest" sections and taking multiple practice exams, Higley said.

Eighteen employees have passed the exam in the past six months. All of them have daily contact with patients; most of them conduct evaluations for standard power wheelchairs, Higley said.

Some of the employees who passed the exam will remain in their existing roles ("They just wanted more knowledge," Higley said). Others will receive additional training (on product selection and disease diagnoses) and mentoring (from current ATPs), Higley said.

"We want them to have hands-on experience," he said. "They can't just pass the test and call it good."

It goes without saying, Higley said, that all employees meet RESNA's educational and work requirements for ATPs.

Alliance has spent the past two years building its roster of ATPs. Most recently, it added Rafy Ibarra, who previously worked at Sunrise Medical; and K.C. Clark, who previously worked at Coram. Medicare requires providers to have ATPs on staff to provide certain complex power wheelchairs.

Alliance now serves complex rehab customers in more than 50 cities across the country.