Complex rehab providers are shaking things up


On my desk right now are notes for three stories, all of which have to do with complex rehab providers expanding their footprints: ATG Rehab into Oklahoma City, Okla., and Chattanooga, Tenn.; National Seating & Mobility (NSM) into Las Vegas; and Chair & Equipment Rentals & Sales outside of the Charlotte, N.C., competitive bidding area.

What's interesting here is that the companies expanding are not only regional companies (ATG Rehab and NSM) but smaller companies (Chair & Equipment).

Will Dolan, Chair & Equipment's managing director, told me:

"If you stay a mom-and-pop, that's all your going to be. You have to adjust your ways to get away from that. Because the mom-and-pops—they're the companies that I know of that are primarily Medicare and they didn't win bids. We've always been a mom-and-pop, but when you look at the more successful regional companies out there, they're doing the same thing—they're trying to expand."

It reminds me of what Gary Sheehan said last week about his company's decision to expand in an era of competitive bidding:

"It's bad news no matter if you're trying to stand still or if you're trying to grow. We feel like, given the volume of the cuts, you should be a little bit more aggressive about growth. I know that can be somewhat counterintuitive."

When we cold-call providers, we hear this a lot: "We're just chugging along" or "It's the status quo."

I don't know about you, but when I talk to providers like Dolan and Sheehan, I feel a lot better about the industry.

Liz Beaulieu


Competitive bidding or whatever: The cream will rise to the top.