2.5. More About Your Team Members: Medical Equipment Supplier
More About Your Team Members: Medical Equipment Supplier Overview
- The who, when, and what of your medical equipment supplier
- Important Reminder
- Downloadable version of this overview available below
Medical Equipment Supplier Overview
The medical equipment supplier is the third member added to your wheelchair team and will actually provide your wheelchair.
The supplier is a critical team member, as he or she will ensure that your equipment is ordered accurately, billed to your insurance, and assembled correctly for delivery. The supplier will also oversee any repair issues for your equipment. There are many suppliers to choose from. Some are a part of larger, national companies, and others are local dealerships. It is recommended the supplier be certified as an Assistive Technology Professional (ATP). Another very important certification is CRTS (Certified Rehab Technology Supplier). It is very important you use a wheelchair supplier who is certified. More information about the supplier's certification is below.
You have the right to choose your wheelchair supplier. It is important that you select a supplier that has experience working with people like you, that is close to your home, and who you can trust and feel comfortable with, because all repairs of your equipment will go through your supplier.
You can find a qualified supplier by:
- Ask your clinician or therapist for recommendations. Ask them why they like this supplier?
- Search certification websites for local certified suppliers - www.nrrts.org to find a supplier in your area)
- Contact consumer organizations to help locate certified suppliers in your area.
- You may be told your insurance company only uses one company. You still need to ask the questions below.
When choosing a supplier, here are some recommended questions to ask them:
- Do you have additional training and experience in my specific area of need (examples: pediatrics, gerontology, ALS, MS, Spinal Cord Injury, CP, Spina Bifida, etc.)?
- Do you have a location near my home?
- Do you come to my home for repairs or do I come to your office?
- How long will the process take to get my wheelchair?
- What insurance information will you need from me?
- Do you offer repair service?
- Is there a warranty on the wheelchair? What does the warranty cover? Just parts? Just labor?
- Where will the delivery of my wheelchair take place?
After you have received your Wheelchair Evaluation and Assessment, your clinician may refer you to a supplier. However, you have the right to choose which supplier provides your equipment, so you may choose to use a different supplier. It is important that you select a supplier that you can trust and feel comfortable with, because your relationship with them will extend beyond your initial wheelchair evaluation and fitting.
Your suppler will:
- Work closely with your clinician or therapist to decide what equipment is most compatible with your specific environment (e.g., home, work, school, vehicle, church, etc.) and will maximize your independence.
- The supplier may conduct a home evaluation to verify that you will be able to use the prescribed wheelchair in and around your home.
- Bill your insurance
- Order your equipment
- Ensure that your wheelchair is assembled correctly for delivery
- Deliver your wheelchair the therapist
- Oversee any future repair issues for your equipment
Certification is available for suppliers who have specialized knowledge and experience in providing assistive technology, specifically wheelchairs.
Remember, it is important to have good relationships with all members of your team. The wheelchair world is a small one. You need to hold your wheelchair supplier accountable, yet keep in mind, they can choose not to work with you too.