Closings 'good and bad' for Inland Medical

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

SPOKANE, Wash. - Providers leaving the rehab business have been both a blessing and a curse for Inland Medical & Rehab.
Operations Manager Don Whitney has watched a handful of providers enter then exit the wheelchair business in the Spokane, Wash., area over the past five years. The blessing: Inland Medical has regained market share. The curse: The provider's stuck doing service and repair work on wheelchairs it didn't supply.
"It's good and bad," Whitney said. "The number of incoming repairs has almost doubled, but when some transferring patients show up for repairs, I know I never would have supplied them with equipment in the first place. I tell them I have to take them non-assigned, and they're madder than hornets."
To meet increased demand, Inland Medical has beefed up its repair department from three to four employees. There's still about a two-week wait for transferring patients, Whitney said.
Inland Medical, like other rehab providers, often bills repairs under a miscellaneous code. That means, in addition to the provider's four-person repair staff, its four-person billing staff also spends a good chunk of time on repairs. Inland Medical has a total of 19 employees.
Still, repairs "add to our service component," Whitney said.