The Scooter Store Announces Layoffs

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The Scooter Store reduced its overall workforce by 200 employees in early December, a decision that The Scooter Store founder/CEO Doug Harrison blamed directly on recent changes to power mobility fee schedules from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

In a Dec. 1 statement, Harrison called CMS' new power mobility fee schedules "flawed," adding, "Medicare claims the cuts are in response to utilization spiraling out of control. The reality is that utilization of the Medicare mobility benefit has dropped almost 30 percent since 2003 and is 10 percent below Medicare's own estimate of appropriate utilization. Additionally, Medicare's methodology for calculating the price cut still incorporates numerous errors and does not reflect today's market price for power mobility devices."

CMS' initially announced fee schedules for power mobility devices (PMD) in October were uniformly decried by PMD manufacturers, suppliers and end-users. CMS revised the allowables in November, just days before the Nov. 15 implementation date for both fee schedules and new PMD coverage criteria. While the revised allowables offered some improvement, many in the industry are still concerned that the overall reduction in payments will force some suppliers to cut back services or close businesses, and therefore endanger client and customer access to proper equipment.

"It pains me that 200 men and women and their families are being negatively impacted largely because the government doesn't have a system to accurately determine what the proper Medicare pricing should be for power wheelchairs and scooters," Harrison's statement said. "Our dedicated employees, as well as the Medicare beneficiaries who will also be hurt by these cuts, deserve that much from Washington."

The Scooter Store, headquartered in New Braunfels, Texas, has dozens of branches across the United States.

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