MEDwheels shifts model

Monday, April 25, 2011

SAN ANTONIO - HME provider MEDwheels waited for Medicare to pay for wheelchairs. It hoped rentals wouldn't break down. Then it did something new. 

MEDwheels began installing vehicle lifts for disabled veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Medicare, Medicaid and HMOs generally do not cover vehicle lifts, so they are treated as retail items, paid more quickly and in cash.

"As the industry continues to change, then the business model must also adapt," said MEDwheels President Jane Gonzalez. 

Before installing vehicle lifts, the company provided the VA with mobility equipment.

MEDwheels still sells a full roster of HME products through its storefront, but Gonzalez said its model has shifted to serve more veterans.

"It's imperative that we continue to be looking at what the need is for any kind of equipment and how these needs could be serviced differently than just the traditional products," she said.

For Gonzalez, it's crucial that MEDwheels serves the community, while also doing good business.

"That we could service a veteran who has served America is very personal to us," she said.

Gonzalez said that Medicare represents only about 30% of MEDwheels' revenues, with the rest made up of HMOs and Texas Medicaid.