Filling the void left by The Scooter Store

Friday, May 10, 2013

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – When The Scooter Store, the industry’s largest provider of power mobility devices, is wounded, what does it mean for those providers left standing?

So far, it has meant more Scooter Store customers seeking them out for repairs. Since a layoff this spring that reduced staff at the company to 300 employees, customers are having trouble reaching a live person—so much so that the provider posted a do-it-yourself repair FAQ on its website in April.

“We’ve gotten a lot of calls for repairs, but the patients don’t have the original paperwork and can’t get it,” says Mary Lisa, a senior director at Upstate Rehabilitation Products in Albany, N.Y.

That presents a problem for providers, since claims without the original medical necessity documentation won’t hold up under audits, providers say.

In cases where providers can’t obtain the needed documentation, they are asking patients to sign an advance beneficiary notice (ABN).

“If they won’t sign the ABN, we tell them they need to call The Scooter Store and get the documentation,” said Lisa.

If that’s not an option, there’s a last resort, providers say.

“We tell them to call 1-800-Medicare,” said Mark Farmer, president of Mesa, Ariz-based Southwest Mobility.

One thing providers haven’t seen: a boon in scooter and power wheelchair sales, they say.

“Those customers were people who were responding to aggressive advertising,” said Rick Perrotta, president of Network Medical Supply in Charlotte, N.C. “Take those ads away, and I don’t know how many people will try to get scooters. I’m not sure how this is going to play out.” HME