Scooter Store completes first phase of ACHC accreditation

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas - The Scooter Store, the nation’s leading supplier of power wheelchairs and scooters, has taken its first steps toward becoming accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC).

“I think the main reason we did this is because we feel that it is the right thing to do and that it is a great third party verification,” said Tim Zipp, The Scooter Store’s vice president of governmental affairs. “We believe we are providing the best possible service and doing things right for the people we serve in the beneficiary community.”

While The Scooter Store is looking to validate its businesses practices with third party approval, Zipp said it is not looking for a means to quiet its critics in the industry.

As the nation’s largest scooter supplier, The Scooter Store is a ready target for those alarmed by the remarkable growth of the K0011 category in recent years.

“Our intent to get accredited has nothing to do with how our competitors or others in the industry see us,” said Zipp. “We think it is a very positive step and it was the right thing for us to do as a business.”

The process may have more to do with the company’s support of the mandatory accreditation requirement being discussed in Congress.

The Scooter Store has thrown its support behind this legislation as a means to increase quality and business standards in the HME industry, said Zipp.

Talk of such a requirement may point other companies down similar paths as the power wheelchair giant.

“[The debate] does tell you that the writing is on the wall and this is coming at some point,” said Tom Cesar, president and CEO of ACHC.

Cesar has already seen companies taking preemptive steps toward accreditation before a regulation is accepted.

The Scooter Store now is waiting for ACHC survey crews to visit its headquarters.

More than half of the company’s locations also will receive unannounced visits, during which the locations will be judged on eight basic categories, including fiscal management, quality outcome improvement and patient services, said Cesar.

The crews also will look for compliance will all state laws and regulations.

“Any accreditation assessment or survey is going to bring to light a lot of the business practices on an organization because you are doing a cross section of both the business side as well as the market that they work in,” said Cesar.

The accreditation process is time consuming, taking up to six months for a large company to complete, but Cesar and Zipp are confident the process will go smoothly for The Scooter Store.

“One of the reasons they are coming to accreditation to begin with is to increase the quality of what they are doing, and I do know that they are taking this very seriously,” said Cesar.