ATA Mobility launches 'handi' item for seniors

Saturday, January 31, 2009

La Mesa, Calif. --When Jose’ Silva and his wife, Liz Silva, opened Triad Medical Supply in 2005, they had no aspirations to become HME providers turned manufacturers. But that’s exactly what has happened.

Day in and day out, at their store in La Mesa, Calif., the Silvas get suggestions from their customers, particularly about mobility and assisted living products. One suggestion they hear a lot: Customers want a cart for rollators and walkers that’s large enough to carry things like shopping bags and trash receptacles.

With that feedback and help from an engineering firm and a patent lawyer, the Silvas have developed the Handiwagon, a folding cart for rollators and walkers with a 30-pound weight capacity.

“We had one lady who wanted a basket large enough to carry her dog,” said Jose’ Silva. “She walks her dog with her rollator, and because he can be aggressive, she wanted to be able to put him in there.”

The Handiwagon (price tag: about $120; colors: red and blue) was expected to hit the shelves at Triad Medical sometime in January. It will become available to other providers later this year, probably in March.

The Silvas have no plans to stop with the Handiwagon. They have started a separate company, ATA Mobility Group, to design, develop and market other mobility and assisted living products.

For ideas, the Silvas will continue to rely on customers. They’ll also use Triad Medical as a testing ground for their products, Jose’ Silva said.

Knowing that providers, including Triad Medical, are scrambling for cash items due to reimbursement cuts, the Silvas believe the Handiwagon will do well.

“We developed the Handi-wagon because we wanted to meet the needs of our customers, but we also wanted more cash items,” Jose’ Silva said. “We see the handwriting on the wall.”