Editor's Note

If You Teach It, They Can Learn

It’s a publishing joke that magazine mastheads — i.e., the staff box — exist mostly to reassure mothers that their editor children were gainfully employed this month. Who else would bother to read it?

And yet, people do. More importantly, they also read the stories printed here and elsewhere. Because the potential of words and pictures, once they’re released, is boundless.

For instance, Mobility Management is mailed to qualified assistive technology professionals, clinicians, DME mobility/rehab suppliers, etc. Most of the feedback I get comes from those readers.

But I also get calls and e-mails from readers outside our subscription boundaries. Parents call about kids with disabilities. Adult children call about aging parents. Health-care workers outside the normal DME circle, such as case managers or nurses, ask where they can find information on tilt.

Once in awhile, we even hear that Medicare or Medicaid officials have been reading the magazine.

That’s always surprising, the idea that what’s written for our intimate circle is read by referral and funding sources, too. But that’s the way words and pictures travel: They can go anywhere, end up in front of anyone. That’s even more true thanks to the literally infinite Internet.

And that’s a truth we should capitalize on, every chance we get.

As a mobility or rehab professional, you directly impact people’s abilities to live full, active lives in their communities. That’s a powerful story. So you need to tell it.

In this month’s MMBeat, we highlight two such great examples.

First: Mark Sullivan, a world-class photographer in addition to being Invacare Corp.’s rehab VP, has published his first book, Denied. The book shows, via Mark’s photos, how assistive technology works in people’s lives. Mark collaborated with advocate extraordinaire Marilyn Hamilton, who wrote the foreword. With your help, they hope this book will find its way into the hands of people who have the power to change complex rehab coverage criteria and funding.

Second: Take a peek at the superb blog that’s part of Active American Mobility& Medical Supply’s amazing Web site (aamobility.com). The AA crew is committed to educating consumers, payors and referral sources.

“I think one of the big lessons we learned was that patients and referrals actually read the blog,” said Patrick Boardman, director of business development. “When we initially launched our blog, we had no idea if anyone was reading.We added a site counter and realized that a significant number of people were reading our blog.”

Take note: At a time when DME suppliers are fighting for their financial lives, and complex rehab is fighting for a separate benefit category, people are listening. If you write, if you teach, if you blog or give in-services, people will learn. Maybe not all of them, maybe not every time. But some will. And we won’t know who until it happens.

All we want is for legislators, referral sources, payors, consumers, clinicians and the mainstream media (hello, CNN!) to understand the truth about mobility and complex rehab — that it changes lives and saves money. You can’t be sure your message is heard by everyone. But talking it up and writing it down are imperative first steps.

So keep spreading the word. You never know who might be listening this time.

This article originally appeared in the November 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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