200 Workers Lose Jobs in The Scooter Store Lay-off

On Friday, The SCOOTER Store announced that it has reduced its workforce by 200 people because of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) significant cuts to reimbursement for power wheelchairs and scooters.

"The SCOOTER Store is not immune to the financial pressures that Medicare's significant cuts inflict on our operation, as well as on other suppliers and manufacturers around the country," said Doug Harrison, founder and CEO, in a statement. "Before being forced to take this drastic action of eliminating jobs, we took many other steps to reduce costs. In the end, however, we still found it necessary to reduce the workforce so that The SCOOTER Store can continue operating and providing mobility equipment to seniors and people living with disabilities who depend on us to improve their quality of life."

The Scooter Store cited an almost 30 percent drop in benefits since 2003, with reimbursement 10 percent below CMS' own estimate of appropriate utilization. Harrison said that the Nov. 15 implementation of the new fees "still incorporates numerous errors and does not reflect today's market price for power mobility devices."

"It pains me that 200 men and women and their families are being negatively impacted largely because the government doesn't have a system to accurately determine what the proper Medicare pricing should be for power wheelchairs and scooters," he said. "Our dedicated employees, as well as the Medicare beneficiaries who will also be hurt by these cuts, deserve that much from Washington."

The SCOOTER Store plans to carry on the fight to protect the Medicare mobility benefit from further dismantling and cuts. In the coming weeks, the company will continue to work with CMS, urging that all remaining errors in the payment formula be corrected as quickly as possible.

This article originally appeared in the November 2006 issue of HME Business.

HME Business Podcast