The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) has released a list of comprehensive steps to assist caregivers and individuals with disabilities in the vehicle-purchasing process. Dave Hubbard, executive director and CEO, NMEDA, emphasizes the organization’s goal to unify and improve the mobility equipment industry, adding, “Transportation is the key to freedom.”
As a nod to the importance of transportation, Hubbard notes that NMEDA has also developed a Quality Assurance Program (QAP) to ensure vehicle modification and equipment installation are consistent with the highest guidelines available. The NMEDA recommends that individuals interested in beginning the vehicle-purchase process begin by contacting a mobility equipment dealer.
The dealer offers clients knowledge about a range of vehicles and equipment available, assists in locating a certified driver rehabilitation specialist (CDRS) for an evaluation, and reviews financing options with the buyer, the NMEDA notes. In the second step of the process, the NMEDA advises potential buyers to consult a CDRS for evaluation of motor skills, strength, coordination, perception, and cognitive skills. Upon completion, a written prescription is then provided.
Next, buyers are encouraged to conduct research. During the process, the NMEDA says, an individual’s need should be considered. These needs and considerations include the dimensions of the wheelchair and who will be driving the vehicle. The family’s lifestyle and daily routine should also be evaluated and considered in terms of space for a lift or ramp, handicap parking in regularly visited destinations, and the number of wheelchair users in the home.
Once the vehicle and equipment have been purchased, the NMEDA recommends buyers engage in training sessions individually or, if personalized mobility equipment is used for driving, with a CDRS to learn how to safely and effectively drive the modified vehicle. The last step in the process centers on reimbursement. The NMEDA notes that when applicable, buyers should submit a Mobility Assistance Reimbursement Application to the appropriate vehicle manufacturer.
Visiting the manufacturer’s Web site and downloading the correct forms prior to vehicle purchase will assist in smoothing the process, according to a recent news release. The NMEDA also reminds veterans to follow the VA’s requirements for receiving financial assistance.
For more information, visit www.nmeda.com