Rehab Designs launches

Monday, March 31, 2003

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Internet has made it easier than ever for patients to obtain rehab equipment, and Rehab Designs, which recently launched a new Web site, is well aware of the concerns and challenges the Internet presents providers and end-users

“A lot of rehab companies offer (on-line) services,” said Tim Barrett, operations manager for Rehab Designs in Louisville, Ky., “They’ll sell you anything.”

Rehab Designs won’t make that mistake, Barrett promised. It’s counter productive to offer high end rehab equipment on line because most is customized to fit a particular client’s needs, and that can’t be done unless the provider evaluates the client face to face, say Barrett and others.

“It’s a complicated process,” Barrett said. “It’s very, very rare to find the features you want (on the Internet).”

Rehab Design’s site offers a price list of all the wheelchairs available and its manufacturers name next to it. Also, he said, order forms for standard chairs only, not custom, will be available along with information on how to pick the right equipment. If a high-end chair is desired, client’s are advised to call for an in-house evaluation.

But even that limited Web presence worries some providers.

Rustom Hallett, sales manager for Wheelchair Center, Inc. in Suisun City, Calif., said many walk-in clients want the prices listed from on-line companies. That can be troublesome because what’s not noted is that while the online price may be less expensive, it does not always include evaluations.

Additionally, whatever the product, “everyone should be fitted,” Hallett said, noting that an inch either way can make a huge difference for the user.

Donnie Sweeton, sales manager for Music City Medical in Murfreesboro, Tenn., said on-line ordering only complicates filing the documentation required with Medicare and Medicaid. “There is a lot of potential for problems,” he said.

Barrett agrees but said Rehab Designs focus will be on simple, standard chairs and providing information.

“We want to make available a low-cost, high quality chair with not a lot of options,” Barrett said. HME