Higley: Alliance Seating Wins Rehab Contracts in All First-Round MSAs

Scott Higley, VP of rehab sales for Alliance Seating & Mobility, has confirmed that Alliance has been offered contracts to supply complex rehab in all 10 of the first-round metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in Medicare’s national competitive bidding program.

Alliance Seating & Mobility is the newly created rehab division of The Scooter Store.

In an interview with Mobility Management, Higley added that he is currently interviewing rehab technology suppliers nationwide to staff Alliance offices in the nine MSAs in the United States. Higley indicated that Alliance is not actively seeking to hire staff for an office in Puerto Rico, the 10th MSA, at this time.

The first round of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) competitive bidding program will be implemented July 1, 2008.

“I’ve already gone to a couple of cities and interviewed,” Higley said. “I’ve got a couple of people hired already -- ATS’s (assistive technology suppliers). That’s the toughest thing right now for me -- there are good people out there who are contacting me who are not ATS’s. That’s our policy (to hire ATS’s).” Eventually, Higley said, Alliance may be able to hire RTS’s who don’t have the ATS credential, and then help them earn the credential via in-house training. But he admitted that that scenario is not immediately feasible.

“It’s a shame, because I know a lot of them (RTS’s without the ATS credential) are qualified,” Higley said.

Higley said he’s been fielding calls from RTS’s and ATS’s from all over the country.

“I’ve been talking to people in California, in Kansas, in Florida, in Ohio -- either flying there to meet them, or having them come in, whatever works best so we can move forward. Obviously, I don’t want to just hire any ATS. I want to hire the best ATS’s. So we’re trying to get a good volume of them so we can do interviews.”

As of April 1, CMS now requires complex rehab equipment to be supplied by an ATS. To earn the ATS designation, a rehab technology supplier must pass RESNA’s ATS exam and adhere to RESNA’s ATS standards.

Higley is also hiring “rehab mobility managers,” technicians trained to set up and deliver complex rehab equipment, for each location.

He said he is well aware of the criticism being leveled at Alliance Seating & Mobility because of its Scooter Store parentage.

“I’m actually looking for people who are critical of us, to bring on board,” he said. “If they’re critical, and they see that we’re doing it right...people know who’s been outspoken before.

“I think a lot of people want to know the truth for themselves. They’ve already heard what other people have told them. They want to see for themselves.”

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