Setbacks at The Scooter Store

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas - Between changing up his management team and taking legal action against some of his former employees, The Scooter Store President Doug Harrison had his hands full in early 2012.

The Scooter Store lost two executives in January: chief financial officer (CFO) Tom Shaw and chief sales officer (CSO) Mike Pfister. But the vacancies shouldn't result in structural or strategic changes within the company, Harrison said.

"Those are both positions that we will keep on my staff," he said. "One has been filled and one's about to be filled."

The Scooter Store hired Shaw as an interim CFO in mid-2011. But his family remained in California, meaning he had to commute to Texas every other week. That's what led him to take a new position there. At press time, a replacement had not yet been named.

Pfister has returned to the oil and gas industry. Steve Tatarian, who was executive vice president of managed care, will step in as interim CSO. Tatarian has been with the company for eight years and has worked in several sales capacities during that time.

Also in January: The Scooter Store sought legal action against ex-employees for violating non-compete agreements. Employees who sign the agreements are barred from competing against The Scooter Store within certain geographic areas, for a certain amount of time. The areas and times vary by state, Harrison said.

"We have lots of people that come to us that are brand new to the industry, so everything they know about it, they learn from us," he said. "We have a very thorough training process for all new employees and lots of ongoing training, as well, which is at no small expense to us."

Typically, employees honor the agreements, and there are few problems, Harrison said.

"Sometimes it is a problem, and then we have to pursue it legally and we will," he said.

Despite these setbacks, The Scooter Store is here to stay, Harrison said.

"The Scooter Store, like other companies in the DME industry, is faced with some serious challenges and also some tremendous opportunities," he said. "The increasing pressure may cause many, if not most, providers to go out of business. However, my faith in the American entrepreneurial spirit says that many companies will find a way to survive."



I wish CMS would ban all forms of advertising for home medical equipment and limit the process to direct to physician marketing. Unwarranted utilization would go down if the doctors were the only ones who could initiate the process.<br />
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Obviously, this would take companies like the Scooter Store completely out of the business.

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That&#39;s a silly statement. What&#39;s considered "advertising"? ....TV commercial&#39;s, newspaper, or radio? What about a brochure? For the matter, why even have a sign in front of your store? That&#39;s advertising too. Should we even have a business card? That&#39;s advertising. How is the doctor going to initiate the process if they don&#39;t know you exist? The fault isn&#39;t in the advertising. It&#39;s what happens after that...after you make your phone ring. We TV advertise and it works very well. We handle each call with great scrutiny. We sell a lot of things for cash to people that don&#39;t qualify. We don&#39;t mention the word "free" or "Medicare" in our advertising. you...I see the Scooterstore as the the "leader" in many of the problems within our industry, I just don&#39;t think it can be solved by banning advertising.

Let&#39;s focus on the article. I hired a TSS employee and they made that person sign a non compete that was boedering on illegal. Patient contact is protected however in our state a referral source cannot be protected. That person still has a right to make a living.<br />
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In addition, the non compete explicitely stated that person could not "whistle blow" until after 2 years. It is obvious they are afraid and know exactly that they commit fraud on a regular basis. The two years is up in October of this year. I can&#39;t wait. I have files ready to pass on to the NSC and CMS.

My copy that I read must have been missing a few words at<br />
the end of the article. Probably edited out to prevent an industry riot. I am sure that the last quote of Mr. Harrison (same person as the one who admitted to False Medicare Claims in a 4 million plus payback in 2007) should have been written to read "However, my faith in the American entrepreneurial spirit says that many companies will find a way to survive WHETHER LEGAL OR ILLEGAL." :-)