Once the new certification policies are instituted, a tutorial entitled "Applying for ACVREP Certification: A Step By Step Process" will be available on the ACVREP web site (<www.
On January 14, 2009, ACVREP released an announcement explaining its intention to postpone the implementation of the structural changes because of a "range of supportive, complimentary, and negative comments received from our stakeholders" and a desire to engage in "further discussion and collaboration regarding the issues and rationale that served as the basis of the decisions" to introduce new certification policies and procedures.
The certification for low vision therapists, unlike the certification for vision rehabilitation therapists and O&M specialists, was explicitly designed by ACVREP not to be specific to one particular discipline in order to encourage professionals from a variety of backgrounds, including occupational therapists, to obtain this certification.
Rather than view occupational therapists as competition, members of our field would do better to support and encourage occupational therapists to earn ACVREP certification.
Training must be provided one-on-one and face-to-face, not in a group setting, and may only be provided by professionals certified by ACVREP.
In addition, the result would be to give vision rehabilitation professionals certified by ACVREP, which embodies the highest standards for certification in visual impairment, recognition as the gold standard for service providers in this area.
Furthermore, since vision rehabilitation professionals certified by ACVREP are the only service providers, other than physicians or occupational therapists, recognized by CMS as able to provide services and training to people with visual impairments, it is imperative that as many professionals as possible become certified by ACVREP in order to maximize participation in this project.
It should be noted that New Hampshire has elected to participate in a different way, by not directly offering vision rehabilitation training through its private agency, but, instead, partnering with eye care specialists and vision rehabilitation professionals certified by ACVREP in providing services to persons in the rural communities of the state.
ACVREP has been a beacon in its efforts to raise awareness of the demonstration project among members of the field and in encouraging and assisting participants.
Medicare wants to see whether eye care specialists will utilize the demonstration project funds and will link up with vision rehabilitation professionals certified by ACVREP to provide training to patients in their homes.