Loving life at the Summitt

Monday, March 31, 2008

After three years of slowly shifting its focus from complex wheelchairs to ancillary products like lifts, The Summitt Group planned to make a “huge push” in 2008.
“We’re mostly word of mouth right now, but we’re looking at mailers and the Internet to advertise our lifts,” said President Rob Summitt. “We’re already more profitable than we’ve ever been. When I work on a lift project, I get paid when I’m finished.”
The Summitt Group used to rely on Medicare and Medicaid for 40% and 60%, respectively, of its business. It now relies on insurers for 10% of its business. The rest is cash.
The Summitt Group began shifting its focus to overhead and vertical platform lifts, stair glides and other mobility-related equipment when power wheelchairs became more and more work for less and less reimbursement, Summitt said.
“We’ve been analyzing the numbers for the past few years,” he said. “We knew we had to start breaking away from the government.”
The Summitt Group has used its experience providing complex wheelchairs to build a brand for itself in lifts, Summit said.
“We know the equipment side, so we’re invaluable in fitting clients’ related needs,” he said. “Most of the time, it’s a hand-in-hand operation. If they need a stair glide, they’ll probably need a ramp.”
Having a long list of power wheelchair customers has been a boon, too, Summitt said.
“HME providers often overlook an enormous resource they have for a revenue stream, and it’s their databases,” he said. “It’s just finding what those people need.” HME