5 Minutes with Cara Bachenheimer
From left: Dylan, Cara, Neal and Ben.
Of the projects I’m working on, I’m most excited by… launching the Brown & Fortunato GAP — Government Affairs Practice — office. It’s going to allow me to expand upon what I currently do and amplify what I do for a larger number of organizations in terms of working with policy makers in D.C. to ensure and increase access for consumers to important technologies.
Of the challenges facing CRT, I’m most concerned about… continuing access issues for consumers. We have had accomplishments, like last year’s big reversal of the accessory payment issue for complex power wheelchairs. But funding is always going to go down. It’s more and more important for more people to be engaged because of the continuing access issue.
The CRT segment I’m most intrigued by is… new interactive technologies.
What CRT needs most right now is… more consumers to be more engaged at local, state and national levels if we’re going to make progress on issues that are challenging access. And these issues are at all levels.
As an industry, we’ve gained ground on… CRT has made huge strides with CMS [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] and on Capitol Hill in understanding what CRT is and how it’s different from home medical equipment, and the types of sophisticated technologies that facilitate consumers’ abilities to have better quality of life, engage in their communities, work and go to school. People on Capitol Hill use the CRT acronym now. That’s due to so many different people — consumers, clinicians, providers, manufacturers — all being much more engaged over the last decade than before.
What I wish I could change about CRT is… We’re always constrained in resources for our efforts. We need data; getting data is important to prove your worth and value. All these things take time and resources. An unlimited amount of time and resources would be my genie-in-a-bottle wish. We could do so many things.
My favorite thing about the CRT industry is… the consumer. When the consumer is involved in advocacy and policy issues, the conversation is a completely different conversation. The beautiful thing about going to Capitol Hill with consumers is I don’t have to say a word. I’ve been in meetings with and without consumers, and they’re completely different meetings. Members of Congress, when faced by these people and seeing the issues they deal with and how they deal with them in such a positive and constructive way, I am so happy to sit in the background and shut up. That’s the thing that moves the ball forward in Washington. It creates a really positive buzz on the Hill, too, because there’s a bunch of people in wheelchairs. It inspires other conversations: What’s going on, who’s in town, what are the issues?
My favorite recent industry event was… the [NRRTS/NCART] CRT conference. It brings together the whole community of stakeholders: consumers, clinicians, providers, manufacturers and others, all working together as a team with a unified message. People in Washington are skeptical when it’s just the for-profits — the providers and manufacturers. But we all know payment translates into access. When consumers are speaking that same language, that is so much more impactful than when the for-profit entities are saying that.
My favorite tradeshow venue/city are… I’d like to go to California more often!
My favorite business travel hack is… I never check my luggage. I’ve had such terrible experiences. I sacrifice the volume of items just to never, ever check my luggage.
In five years, I expect to be… I hope I’m doing the same thing, but more of it. And I hope we’ll continue to make even more progress for the CRT consumer.
I want to be remembered by this industry as… not just trying to make a difference, but making a difference.
The last great meal I had was… my latest nuclear family meal. My core family — me, my husband, our two kids — everybody loves to cook. It’s the creation and production of the meal that makes it great. And it is great. We cook a lot of Asian/Indian types of foods.
People who know me well would say I… don’t take
anything too seriously. I don’t take life too seriously.
Those people would be surprised to learn that I… actually do take a lot of things seriously.
This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of Mobility Management.