Hello Friends! If you have been through the clinical process before than you have had an Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) who has been a part of the team that has served you. Recently, I sat down with an ATP from Numotion, Toby Bergantino. With over 40 years of experience in the healthcare industry he shared candidly that he grew up “playing with wheelchairs” where his father was a pharmacist. He quickly turned that passion into a profession and now serves hundreds of people in the Northeast for Numotion.
As a key member of the clinical team, Toby is one of those individuals who truly needs to connect with his customers/patients as well as the caregivers. They realize that he is the authority on many of these products and want to make sure that he has their best interest at heart. Well, in the brief time I was in his presence, with some of his customers present, one will quickly notice the special connection that he has not only with his teammates, but even more importantly, his customers. He advises his customers that the process “does not have to be intimidating.” As I have shared countless times, buying a new wheelchair can be like buying a new car based on all of the choices you are given. While Toby agrees with that comparison, he took it one step further by saying, “You must make sure that you have the right professional to guide you through the process.” Speaking from experience, I can honestly say that it is an energy thing with me. I will know in the first few minutes how much my ATP truly cares. Toby is one who truly cares.
Dealing with customers’ emotions is one of those areas where an ATP can make or break a deal. Sometimes the customer is very apprehensive, uncertain and possibly coming from a place of fear. A seasoned ATP will do his or her best to ensure that he/she has the customer’s best interest at heart and while that may not match up with what the customer envisions, it is the job of the ATP to recommend what is best for each individual customer. There are some customers who know exactly what they want and have done a tremendous amount of research in preparation for their appointment, but that does not always translate to what is best for the customer.
One of many incredible stories that Toby shared was a day where he had a two year-old customer and 102 year-old customer. He delivered a powerchair to the two year-old who took off as if she just received the greatest gift ever. The 102-year old received a powerchair as well, but was more excited to just be mobile and independent in her own home. This is a daily occurrence for someone like Toby as he knows he is part of the process of enhancing the quality of peoples’ lives.
Being in the industry for over four decades, Toby has seen “steel chairs go to stainless steel, go to aluminum, go to titanium, and go to carbon fiber.” The options offer so much variety, which pleases the client. The downside is the time that it takes to get their new equipment because of the insurance process. Toby and other ATP’s have to be that buffer in the middle and keep the peace. It is certainly not easy, but obviously can be very rewarding.
So what about those individuals who do not have insurance? Well, Toby has some options for those customers as well in trying to have their needs met. Trusts have been set up by philanthropists that can help pay for items. Grants are available. GoFundMe is another viable option as many people have family and friends who are wanting to help and this is an easy way to get them involved. Toby and his team will guide you through the process and explore all possibilities to help you get your needs met.
In closing, Toby and I looked at the industry in 40 years and where he believes we will be and what he envisions. His goal is to train the next generation to be quality ATPs and continue to enhance the lives of people with mobility disabilities.
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. Until next time, continue to create A Nu You and Maximize Your Life!