Experience drives provider to offer fuller product line

Friday, January 24, 2014

ADDISON, Texas – When complex rehab provider Tim Robinson was injured and needed a wheelchair seven years ago, he had to figure out how to travel from place to place and even within his own home on his own.

“When I got home from the hospital, I was only able to enter my house through one door and wasn’t able to enter any of my bathrooms,” said Robinson, president of Addison, Texas-based Mobility Medical Equipment. “I had no idea how to do any of this.”

Robinson’s personal experience led him to start selling mobility vans in December and to hire an occupational therapist (OT) to conduct home assessments in January.

“Between those two businesses and the other two physical therapists here to set people up with complex rehab, we’re going to be able to do a lot of good for people,” he said.

Robinson hopes the new lines will also make up for lost Medicare business. He accepted contracts for standard mobility in Round 1 of competitive bidding, but he found that fulfilling the contracts ate up 70% of his overhead while only contributing 35% to his bottom line. In the Round 1 re-compete, he didn’t accept contracts.

The mobility van manufacturer that Robinson partnered with, WHEELINIT, is new to the market, he said. Since WHEELINIT is partly a charitable effort, its owners offer the vans at lower prices to increase access. Robinson forwards those savings onto his customers, he said.

In addition to an OT, Robinson has found two contractors willing to work with him on home accessibility projects. Customers can use those contractors, or take the OT’s assessment and use a contractor of their choosing.

Despite the new services, Robinson still hasn’t given up on Medicare. In December, he enlisted People for Quality Care to interview 12 of his patients on video about the troubles they’ve experienced because of overzealous audits and competitive bidding. He’s planning to send the videos to local media and to lawmakers.