Scooter Store plans no more layoffs, for now

Sunday, February 29, 2004

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas - The Scooter Store, which terminated 200 employees in January due to a drop-off in Medicare business volume and reimbursement, has “no additional layoffs planned at this time,” said Margaret McGuckin, executive vice president of marketing.

Nevertheless, as an industry “I don’t think we’ve felt the full impact yet” of Medicare’s “over reaction” to fraud and abuse, she said last month.

The “over reaction” McGuckin refers to is Medicare’s “clarification” in December that it would strictly enforce coverage criteria that limits the provision of power wheelchairs to beneficiaries who are chair or bed confined. Industry advocates complain that this black-and-white criteria will, rather than control fraud and abuse, deny power mobility to beneficiaries who can take a few steps but still need a wheelchair to maneuver around their home.

“We all support as an industry legitimate efforts to stop fraud and abuse, but what CMS did with this clarification was not eliminate fraud,” McGuckin said. “Now anyone who can take more than one step will need to go into a skilled nursing facility.”

The Scooter Store is the largest provider of power wheelchairs in the United States.