Lawmaker Tours a Leader in Rehab and Research

Woodlands Congressman Kevin Brady tours the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research. He tells officials he’ll do what he can to convince the new president that healthcare is a top priority. Pat Hernandez has the story.

Brady saw firsthand, programs that have given TIRR the reputation as a national leader in medical rehabilitation and research. His visit came not long after lawmakers in Washington voted to overturn the President’s veto of the Medicare package that includes a delay of competitive bidding.

“We need to make sure that we retain individualized healthcare. We’re bidding out a lot of things. We recognize that there’s a group of patients who have specialized type of equipment they need that needs exceptions, that we need to focus on that. That was the message is one size does not fit all in healthcare.”

Joni McGee is clinical coordinator for therapy services at TIRR Memorial Hermann. It’s her job to see that patients are outfitted with equipment like power wheelchairs.

“I wanted him to see the relationship between the patient, the therapist and the DME equipment provider — to see how all of that works together with them getting the correct seating and positioning and wheelchair to work for the patient to make as independent as possible.”

image of rehabilitation equipmentThe legislation delays the competitive bidding program for certain Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics and Supplies. McGee says it will allow time for critical process improvements and other reforms to bidding and medical equipment policy.

“It’s going to continue to allow the patient to have their choice of vendor, and to have access to those vendors. So, that is the biggest key is that we have a variety of Medicare providers here in Houston, but only a handful are actually qualified to provide these types of products. It will allow their choice of products and suppliers.  And to able to use those in the best possible manner for them to be independent in their home, in their community and in their lives.”

Congressman Brady says Washington has the mindset that bigger in better when it comes to improving healthcare.

“I’m starting to think it may be the opposite. We’ve become so big, we’ve forgotten some of the individual needs.  So, with the new president, I’m hopeful healthcare will be a number one issue for them, and I think we’ll get a chance to try to make the points we learned today up in Washington, and make sure as we look at the big issues — we don’t forget the patients.”

Officials at TIRR view the measure as the most important legislation affecting hospitals that provide medical rehabilitation and research.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.