Industry debate: Will new reg boost scooter sales?

Sunday, July 31, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Medicare's recent expansion of the kinds of doctors who can prescribe scooters should boost sales but probably not significantly, say most industry sources.
In part, that's because while more Medicare beneficiaries will gain access to scooters, the entitlement program, by most estimates, accounts for only 20% to 30% of all scooters sold in the United States. For the most part, scooters are an optional cash item for the customer, not a medically necessary one. Few expect that to change anytime soon.
"At the very least, (the policy change) makes it as easy to get a scooter as a power wheelchair where as before it was easier to get a power wheelchair," said Mark Sullivan, Invacare's vice president rehab category. Compared to some, DuWayne Kramer, president of scooter manufacturer Leisure-Lift, appears almost bullish that the new policy will boost scooter sales. Many people who previously received consumer power chairs -- a sizeable number, he maintains, will now "get pushed into scooters."