2009: Full Steam Ahead!

A year ago in this column, I mentioned that my art director, Dudley Wakamatsu, and I were referring to Mobility Management’s 2008 editorial lineup as “The Year We Get Smart.”

“Just be sure 2009 doesn’t become known as ‘The Year We Revert,’” Dudley said at the time.
We fulfilled our 2008 “get smarter” mission by introducing columns called Clinically Speaking — penned by clinicians about a range of rehab topics — and

Funding Essentials, which we hope helped you stay up to date on the many, many policy and reimbursement issues of 2008. Both columns return to our editorial rotation for 2009.

But because these are historic times for our industry, we are taking last year’s good idea a few giant steps further.

This January 2009 issue marks the debut of Ops Management, a column that will examine the many aspects of running a mobility/rehab business. Future topics will include advice on successful retailing and how software can streamline daily DME operations. But we premiere the column with Scott Meuser, the chairman/CEO of Pride Mobility Products. At Medtrade in Atlanta, Scott was a keynote session panelist. He spoke about this industry’s need for better, persistent and consistent marketing, so legislators, referral sources and consumers understand the critical need for DME and its dedicated providers. Scott builds on his impassioned Medtrade words with his column this month.

Also starting this month: Earning the ATP, a year-long series that pits me against the new ATP exam administered by RESNA. Starting this issue, I’m actively preparing for the exam with the help of industry “mentors,” including ones who themselves have earned ATP or ATS certification. The column kicks off with the help of mentors Mark Schmeler, Ph.D, OTR/L, ATP, director of the Continuing Education Program in the Department of Rehabilitation Science &Technology at the University of Pittsburgh; and Anjali Weber, the certification director of RESNA.

The purpose of the column is to “demystify” the exam process. This issue’s installment defines the new ATP exam — the exam itself and thus the certification policies changed this month — and starts mapping out what I’ll need to do to qualify to take, then succeed at the exam. During 2009, we’ll also discuss the exam’s different content areas; develop a realistic study plan for exam candidates who have to schedule study time around their day jobs and personal lives; budget sufficient money and time for our efforts; learn test-taking strategies; and even work on overcoming exam anxiety and frustrations. The series culminates with my taking an ATP practice exam and sharing the results with you.

This column is an answer to MM readers (you know who you are) who hold ATP/ATS certification and have urged me to “walk the walk” when it comes to continuing education. So I’m excited to do my part. But a certain rehab company VP (you know who you are, too!) was kind enough to tell me the first-time exam failure rate — and my goals for this column do not include amusing the industry by falling flat on my face. So I am actively recruiting supporters. If you’ve taken the test and have any tips or insight, if you’re prepping for the exam yourself and are looking for a “study buddy,” if you know a great resource (textbook or human) that helped you do well — let me know! Join Mobility Management’s “Let’s Help Laurie Pass!” club today.
Please. I beg you.

This article originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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