Scooter Store tiptoes into high-end rehab

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Scooter Store, through a new division called Alliance Seating and Mobility, has been providing high-end power wheelchairs at four locations in Texas since late last year. It used Adorno Rogers Technology, a Nashville, Tenn.-based rehab provider that closed its doors late last year, as a launching pad for the new division. Scott Higley, the former COO of Adorno and the former vice president of Quantum Rehab, a division of Pride Mobility Products, heads up Alliance Seating and Mobility. He talked with HME News about why it's the right time for the 17-year-old Scooter Store to extend its "continuum of care" to include high-end power wheelchairs.
HME News: How did we get here?
Scott Higley: We had some good people at Adorno Rogers who had committed a lot of years to the industry. I was wondering where I could find a home for these people and myself. Looking at the Scooter Store, I admired the efficiency that they brought to the geriatric marketplace; it's something that I think is needed in the rehab marketplace. I approached them on it.
HME: The Scooter Store was receptive.
Higley: They were very open to it. It's frustrating when they have a client who has called with a need that they don't have the expertise to handle and they have to turn that client away. They're not looking at it as a lost sale; they're looking at it as a client they couldn't help. They've grown to the size they are because of their commitment to their clients, so it makes sense for them to increase their continuum of care. It's just an extension of what they already do.
HME: How much influence will the Scooter Store have over what you do at Alliance Seating and Mobility?
Higley: They realized they couldn't just say, 'OK, our process works for you.' Everyone realizes there are things about their business model that do not fit in with custom rehab. It's more, we take what will work for us and we add into that.
HME: Providing high-end power wheelchairs requires more qualified personnel.
Higley: We're not going to just abide by the minimum guideline of having one ATS per location; we're going to do that and more. Anyone who is working with a client at the company has to be an ATS.
HME: Alliance Seating and Mobility is starting out small, with branches in Dallas, Houston, Austin and Corpus Christi. With a company like the Scooter Store behind you, though, you have to have bigger plans.
Higley: Obviously, we would like to be successful. We want to get a model that works well and is self-sustaining, and expand our reach. But we have a lot of respect for many of the providers out there. Hopefully they understand we know this is not an easy thing to fall into. We're not saying, 'Oh, we have instant locations across the country.' We're taking things slow.