Clinician Task Force gets new leader

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

ARLINGTON, Va. – After being under the same leadership since it was founded 14 years ago, the Clinician Task Force has a new executive director and a new governing structure.

Cathy Carver, PT, ATP/SMS, who runs the wheelchair and seating clinic at UAB Spain Rehabilitation Center in Birmingham, Ala., became executive director on Jan. 1. She replaces Laura Cohen, PhD, PT, ATP/SMS, a principal at Rehabilitation & Technology Consultants, in Arlington, Va.

“I’m going to be pursuing new challenges,” Cohen said. “In addition to the CTF, I am a consultant and I plan to continue to do that, but I’m looking to get more into new models of care and how we fit into those. How can we contribute to value-based care and bundled payments?”

Cohen founded the CTF in 2004 with Barbara Crane, PhD, ATP/SMS, a professor of physical therapy at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Conn., during the height of CMS’s efforts to curb fraud and abuse in the wheelchair benefit.

Also new to the CTF: The executive director will become a rotating position, with a new executive director named from the executive board every two years.

“There’s enough expertise on the board now, that we can draw on those members,” Carver said, “and when you know it’s only two years, you can give it your all and know you’ll get a break. You’re more willing to stretch yourself a little bit.”

When Cohen, who will remain involved with the CTF as an ex-officio, looks back at the past 14 years, she’s most proud of the “dedication and passion” of the task force’s almost 50 members, who all volunteer their time.

“We’ve established a reputation for independence and advocacy,” Cohen said, “to a point where policy makers seek us out to help them understand the front-line issues. They know we can provide examples that really illustrate the policy quagmires that stop patients from accessing what they need and we know fixes that can make it better. CMS, the OIG, the GAO—they all call us. That’s what I’m most proud of.”