Numotion's COVID-19 Response: What you Need to Know

In a matter of just a few weeks, the whole world has changed. The COVID 19 virus is spreading throughout the entire world and is especially dangerous for people with disabilities. During these stressful and uncertain times the more information we have the better. The knowledge that people are out there fighting to take care of the needs of the most vulnerable populations is comforting. Providing complex rehabilitation technology is considered an essential service in healthcare by the government. This means that Numotion can continue to provide the custom wheelchairs, cushions and accessories that keep people with disabilities healthy and mobile. Numotion has implemented new processes that will keep our customers and employees as safe as possible. We are working with insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid, therapists, clinics and hospitals all over the country to reduce the amount of physical contact involved in the process of getting a new wheelchair or getting a wheelchair repaired. People with disabilities must be especially vigilant about social distancing and our new policies address this concern. Click here for CDC’s list of underlying illnesses that put you at high risk and suggestions for how to stay healthy.

There are many steps in the process of ordering a new wheelchair. In the past, a new order for a wheelchair required a face to face visit to your doctor for the sole purpose of obtaining an order. The next step was to meet with a therapist and an assistive technology professional (ATP) in a clinic or at your home for the evaluation.  After the wheelchair was ordered many clinics required the patient to go back to a clinic and meet with both the therapist and the ATP again for the delivery to make any necessary adjustments. I will go over the temporary changes made to each of these steps that will minimize risk.

Face to Face with your Doctor

The state government, federal government, and many insurance companies have temporarily loosened the requirements for obtaining complex rehabilitation (custom wheelchairs). First, it is worth mentioning that before this COVID 19 pandemic the Center for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) allowed the initial face to face to be done by telehealth visit, but, generally speaking, required beneficiaries to be in rural locations and to participate in the telehealth visit only at an approved location, which did not include a patient’s home. Click here for the definition of telehealth according to the Mayo Clinic.) As a result of these restrictions and limitations, few doctors or beneficiaries participated in telehealth. Recently, however, CMS temporarily relaxed the restrictions related to location and is allowing beneficiaries to be at their homes during a telehealth visit.  In the last three weeks, many doctors are now set up to do telehealth visits. If you need a new wheelchair or a cushion call your doctor’s office to set up a telehealth appointment.

Mobility Evaluations

Typically, the wheelchair evaluation is done with the customer, a physical or occupational therapist and your assistive technology professional (ATP) all together in a clinic or at the patient's home. To minimize risk, some states and private payors have temporarily relaxed their restrictions on remote mobility evaluations by Licensed Certified Medical Professionals (LCMPs).  Numotion is equipped with HIPAA compliant software to assist your LCMP with remote mobility evaluations and can assist your LCMP in a variety of ways so that they can attend remotely via video conferencing. Therapists around the country are doing remote evaluations, while the details in some cases are still being worked out. The therapists and facilities are responsible for billing and payment for their services, which could be an issue in some areas. The moral of the story is that if you have a CRT need, reach out to your provider and we will do our best to create a plan that works for you and your healthcare team.

Home Assessment

Another requirement in the process of obtaining a custom wheelchair is the home assessment conducted by the ATP. Like mobility evaluations, to minimize contact, some state Medicaid and private payers are permitting home assessments to be done by video or telephone interview with the customer or caregiver. Remote home assessments are another way to practice social distancing. If you need to have a health care professional in your home, make sure you or your caregiver wipe down all doorknobs and surfaces that may have been touched during their visit. Click here to find the CDC's list of ways to disinfect your home, which is recommended to be done daily.

Remote Delivery

There might be items ordered that don't require adjustment by the ATP or repair technician. In that case, we have increased the number of items being shipped directly to your home to minimize risk.  If you are having a wheelchair delivered, Numotion is again offering to have the ATP present and have the therapist join in via remote technology. The therapist can give feedback on any adjustments that might be necessary without being in the room. Numotion uses a HIPAA compliant application for the telehealth conference with the therapist. Remote delivery will keep our customers out of medical facilities, which are currently at capacity in many cities across the country.  Taking these precautions will help decrease delays in receiving your equipment, which we know keeps all of us healthy and mobile.

Remote Service and Repair

Numotion was the first in the industry to offer remote repair services. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, we have
increased the availability of remote repair technicians. Our remote repair department can work with you or your caregiver via HIPAA compliant video chat to diagnose the issues and in some cases partially resolve the issue immediately. Remote repair technicians might also be able to identify a part that needs to be ordered for the repair and take action the same day. Numotion's payer relations team regularly works with insurance companies to streamline the required documentation to the extent possible to speed up the repair and get you moving again as soon as possible. Here is the link for instructions on downloading the Numotion remote repair app to your smartphone. If you follow the link you can watch a video of remote repair in action. If a repair must be done at your home, we are having the technicians practice social distancing and “contactless” appointments. The customer or family member can leave the equipment outside and weather permitting the technicians are doing the repairs outside. It’s a good idea to use gloves and thoroughly clean the equipment after the repair is complete. 

Conclusion

We are all living in unprecedented times due to the COVID 19 pandemic. All of us that live with a disability are especially concerned about following the guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control. Everyone at Numotion is committed to the health and well-being of the customers we serve. We will continue to provide you with the equipment you need to stay healthy and mobile. I know many of you have been self-quarantined for several weeks and are worried about caregivers getting sick. We are all experiencing stress and anxiety about staying healthy. I hope that some of the changes that have been made will make you feel more comfortable about reaching out to Numotion for your mobility needs during this pandemic.
 
 
Karen Roy, Numotion Brand Ambassador

Author

Karen Roy, Numotion Brand Ambassador

Karen Roy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 20 years of experience. Most of that time was spent as a Case Manager for an in-patient rehabilitation hospital. She was the victim of an armed robbery in 1987 and has been a wheelchair user for the last 31 years. She had 3 kids after her injury. Caroline, Austin and Joseph are all in currently attending college. As Ms. Wheelchair America 2019 Karen’s platform was “Stand for Life”. Her platform is about the use of standing technology and other devices that improve the health and well-being of people with disabilities.