Alliance keeps complex mission

Friday, October 31, 2008

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas--Alliance Seating and Mobility, a division of The Scooter Store, has no plans to slow down its expansion into complex power wheelchairs, even though the product category has been carved out of national competitive bidding.

In fact, it’s doing the exact opposite.

“We’re moving faster than ever,” said Doug Harrison, The Scooter Store’s CEO, in August. “While competitive bidding was one of the factors driving us into the market, it wasn’t the driving factor.”

The Scooter Store won contracts for complex power wheelchairs in nine of the 10 competitive bidding areas included in Round 1 of the now-delayed program (In comparison, it won only two contracts for standard power wheelchairs, its bread and butter).

When competitive bidding kicked off July 1, albeit briefly, Alliance Seating & Mobility had ramped up from three to 12 assistive technology suppliers (ATSs). It plans to have 20 by the end of the year.

By continuing to grow Alliance Seating & Mobility, The Scooter Store aims to “correct one of its biggest weaknesses,” Harrison said.

“We know we haven’t served complex rehab customers very well,” he said.

Despite the delay, The Scooter Store hasn’t slowed down its expansion into non-wheelchair product categories, either. It won eight contracts for negative pressure wound therapy and six contracts for oxygen equipment, for example, and many of the subcontracts it set up to fulfill those contracts remain in place, Harrison said.

“For the bulk of them, we’re very happy with what our subcontractors have been able to do for us,” he said.