Heyday for power wheelchairs, like stocks and houses, may be O-V-A


I have a feeling, with 552 views, that the HME News TV interview with Doug Harrison is making the rounds. I'm not surprised.

Harrison, CEO and president of The Scooter Store, is no Pollyana, so what he has to say can be either a breathe of fresh air or a lightening rod. Take, for example, what Harrison has to say about the prospects of future reductions to power wheelchair reimbursement:

At some point, Medicare's not going to pay $4,000 for a power wheelchair," he said. "They're going to pay $2,000. And as soon as they get that, they're going to want to pay $1,000. My prediction over the next five years is that everything Medicare pays for is going to be way less than it is today."

Harrison is the first to admit that The Scooter Store, in"the first part of its life cycle," didn't "do cost management" thanks to high reimbursement. "There wasn't a problem that we couldn't grow out of," he said.

But not anymore—and probably not ever again.

The way Harrison sees it, The Scooter Store—and the industry, in general—now has two options: try to maintain power wheelchair reimbursement at $4,000 and probably fail; or try to find a way to provide a $1,000 wheelchair at some semblance of a profit. He's already getting to work on the latter.

Watch the interview to see how.

Liz Beaulieu


Mr. Harrison is part of the problem. He is in a race to the bottom with Medicare. As an ATP, I don't see any way that my complex rehab patients can be served with a $4000, $2000, or $1000 power wheelchair. This is another reason to support creating a separate catagory for complex rehab.