Power Chair Roundup

Permobil Confirms Commitment to Rehab Carveout, Will Not Sell to Alliance Seating & Mobility
Permobil has confirmed that it will not sell equipment to Alliance Seating & Mobility (ASM), the newly formed rehab company belonging to The Scooter Store.

Permobil cited The Scooter Store’s opposition to a national competitive bidding carveout for complex rehab as the reason behind its business decision.

In an interview, Permobil President Larry Jackson and Marketing Manager Barry Steelman said, “ASM, being an affiliate of The Scooter Store, is in direct conflict with the passage of H.R. 2231, the bill to carve out complex rehab from competitive bidding, and Permobil does not support any company that chooses to conduct business with The Scooter Store.”
Permobil does not currently sell to The Scooter Store, Jackson and Steelman said, and the rehab manufacturer does not plan to do so in the future.

The Scooter Store, a nationwide supplier headquartered in Texas and specializing in what it terms “geriatric mobility,” has drawn attention recently for opposing a rehab carveout. Instead, The Scooter Store has championed a carveout for all power wheelchairs and has said the current power wheelchair Medicare benefit is underutilized.
Asked if the strategy of attempting to exclude all power chairs from competitive bidding would be harmful, Jackson and Steelman said, “Yes, very harmful. This is only an effort by The Scooter Store to monopolize the rehab industry and put quality providers out of business.

“Permobil does support a rehab-only carveout. There is much more to providing quality complex rehab services than just providing product. Quality service, care and management are a vital part of this industry. There remain many quality clinicians and providers that believe in what they are doing. Permobil’s standards directly support their efforts to make this a quality industry.”

The Permobil execs indicated that some of their suppliers who abide by the manufacturer’s standards — which include ATS/ATP certification — had contacted them after the news about The Scooter Store broke.
“Permobil does have quality standards,” Jackson and Steelman said. “It is important to maintain these standards to guarantee quality service and equipment to the end-user. There are quality providers that choose to support our efforts and provide quality care to the end-user. These standards will help to level the playing field for these providers.

“We do feel that our higher standards have and continue to have a positive effect on the industry. We have been contacted by some of our quality providers to let us know of their displeasure with other manufacturers’ choices to support The Scooter Store and their efforts to add consumer power to H.R. 2231.”
Permobil, headquartered in Lebanon, Tenn., can be visited online at www.permobilus.com.

This article originally appeared in the March 2008 issue of Mobility Management.

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