Letter to the editor
I read with great curiosity the article in the January 2010 edition regarding The Scooter Store, and Mr. Harrison's various and obviously unrestrained and not fully thought out comments. I am still shaking my head in disbelief.
Does Mr. Harrison, in his infinite wisdom, really believe that a DME/HME company can make a profit from being reimbursed $1,000 for a power wheelchair? Does Mr. Harrison sincerely feel that operating costs, both fixed and variable, in the coming years will be reduced to an extent to allow this? Does Mr. Harrison know something the rest of the world doesn't?
Our industry has reduced its operating costs to the bone (at least smart providers have), and any room for further reductions is limited, at best. I highly doubt the manufacturers of power wheelchairs will be reducing their selling cost to a level that would allow any level of profit on a $1,000 ($800 net from Medicare) reimbursement. Is he serious?
Anything lower than the current reimbursement levels will put additional strain on any DME providing power wheelchairs. Various cost studies (which one would assume Mr. Harrison is aware of), have shown that the current reimbursement level less standard operating costs of doing business with Medicare provides an average profit.
Lastly, to even imply that a $1,000 power wheelchair reimbursement could happen is irresponsible, misguided and undisciplined. Talk about leading a horse to water, in this case, CMS.
It's not bad enough that the reason the industry is being subjected to these rampant audits of power wheelchairs is mainly due to utilization and over-exposure, for which we have The Scooter Store and their ubiquitous commercials to blame.
Nice job, Mr. Harrison, of looking out for the best interests of our industry.
- Dennis Kline, president and CEO, Source One Medical, Irvine, Calif.