Sunrise refocuses on complex rehab

Sunday, May 31, 2009

LONGMONT, Colo.--Sunrise Medical has decided it’s no longer worth the trouble to compete in Group 2 power wheelchairs.

“We have voluntarily chosen to exit Group 2, mostly because we didn’t feel we were adding value to what has become a price-point only product,” said Julie Jacono, vice president of power mobility.

With its move away from Group 2 - and the recent sale of its Guardian line of bath safety and walking aids to Medline - Sunrise will now refocus resources on Group 3 power wheelchairs, complex manual wheelchairs and seating - its core competencies, said Michael Proffitt, vice president of marketing and product management.

Specifically, that means building new chairs and consolidating its existing Group 3 products so they fit into current reimbursement levels and offer “a very good value to our dealers,” Jacono said.

In Group 3, the company launched one chair earlier this year (the Quickie Pulse 6) and discontinued eight to 10 models.

“We had to take a hard look and understand that there is a following to some of these products,” Jacono said. “We have had some very difficult conversations with some consumers, but it gets to a point where it is no longer cost effective to have such a diversified power portfolio.”

Simon Margolis, executive vice president of NRRTS, called Sunrise’s rededication to complex rehab and, specifically, complex manual wheelchairs great news.

“Their history is in manual wheelchairs - their success is in manual wheelchairs,” he said. “That is where their people have expertise. I know the industry will support them because that is who Sunrise is and has been.”