Different kind of transfer

Friday, October 25, 2013

CARSON, Calif. – Shoprider has diversified its product portfolio with an exclusive agreement to distribute Barton Medical’s transfer chair to the Veterans Affairs and homecare markets.

Driving Shoprider’s decision: Unlike power wheelchairs and scooters, where the company does the bulk of its business, transfer chairs have not been included in competitive bidding, says John Wright, senior vice president of sales and marketing.

“With all the issues surrounding the program, we’re diversifying,” he said. “This is a departure from what we’ve done in the past.”

The transfer chairs recline to a prone position, allowing for easy lateral transfers from chair to bed or bed to chair. Medicare covers the chairs under codes E1035 or E1036 (heavy duty) for bed-bound patients who require assistance to transfer. Reimbursement varies, but on average, it’s about $6,800 over 13 months.

While the transfer chairs are a “departure,” they’re a good fit for Shoprider and its provider customers, Wright says.

“It’s kind of linear to what we do,” he said. “A patient may progress from a walker to a rollator to a wheelchair to a bed. Once they’re in a bed, how do you get them mobile again?”

Shoprider hopes to put enough sales muscle behind the transfer chairs to give competing sling-type lifts a run for their money. 

“There are just a lot of things going on with (a sling-type of lift)—you’re getting them into the sling, you’re cranking them up, you’re steadying them and, at the same time, trying to position them into a wheelchair,” Wright said. “Also, there are bariatric patients who can’t use them.”