What are the Differences Between a Power Wheelchair and Scooter? Part 2

Last week we talked about why someone might want to get a three-wheeled mobility systems, also called a scooter. The next step up from a scooter is a power wheelchair. The downside to power wheelchairs over scooters is they are heavier and look like a piece of medical equipment. On the other side, power wheelchairs have a much tighter turning radius so they are great for in-home use because they can turn on a dime. They also have the ability to change cushions and backs and can meet the long-term needs of patients unlike the scooter if they have an illness that will progress. Last, power wheelchairs are usually almost always covered for in-home use if prescribed by a doctor and physical or occupational therapist so they tend to be a more affordable option for those on a tight budget. Give Howard’s a call at 654-9899 if you have any questions and we would be free to bring both a scooter and power wheelchair out to your house for a free mobility assessment.

What are the Differences Between a Power Wheelchair and Scooter? Part 1

I get the question often about the differences between a power wheelchair and a scooter. Usually, three-wheeled mobility systems, also called scooters have becoming increasingly popular for those that can walk short distances but do not have the stamina to walk longer distances. This is why the scooter is a great option for people going on vacation, cruises, or to their church functions. Scooters also disassemble with the heaviest part weighing only 30 pounds for the travel variety so they can be taken almost anywhere. We usually don’t recommend scooters for indoor use because their turning radius is longer than a power wheelchair but this also makes the scooter more comfortable when it travels outside. Unfortunately, most insurances will not cover a scooter if it is primarily being used for outdoor use which is why Howard’s has some scooters for less than $1000 or has an option to rent, or rent-to-own the devices. We will talk next week on why you might want a power wheelchair instead of a scooter. Give Howard’s a call at 654-9899 if you have any questions.

When is a Lift Chair Needed?

Being able to safely and independently sit and stand is something that is taken for granted until it is lost. As we age, we can get to a point when we no longer have the strength to get up from a sitting position anymore because of a disease, illness, or just lack of strength. This increases the risk of falls and can make it much more difficult for a senior to get around. To accommodate for this, many seniors choose to spend most of their days confined in their chairs instead of asking for help from others. The lift chair is a home medical aid that is designed to make it easier that have a harder time getting up from a sitting position. At Howard’s we have over twelve different kind of lift chairs to choose from, we bill most insurances including Medicare, and even rent the chairs on a month-to-month basis if it is a short-term illness or you are not ready for a long-term commitment. Howard’s carries a complete line of lift chairs and is available to answer any of your questions at 654-9899.

Why Wear Compression Hose?

The benefits of wearing compression socks are widely known among people suffering from leg or foot problems, especially people with arthritis, diabetes, swelling of the legs, and anyone who stands all day long such as a pharmacist. However, they have benefits that everyone, including active individuals, can take advantage of. Circulation problems can arise as we get older – this is a natural part of the aging process. As one’s legs become weak, the veins and pathways inside the legs may stop working properly. One serious side effect of this is that the legs can begin circulating the same blood over and over, leading to painful health conditions that can escalate into more serious health conditions.

These socks are specially designed to aid in the circulation of the blood within the legs. Using compression therapy, circulation is boosted which brings much-needed nutrients and oxygenated blood into the legs and feet. Many people report their legs feel invigorated and free of the pain and weakness they have been experiencing. This is why today; you will even see professional athletes and marathoners wearing compression hose while they compete. Howard’s carries a complete line of compression hose and is available to answer any of your questions at 654-9899.

The Advances of Portable Oxygen

In the old days when someone had breathing problems such as emphysema he was destined to a painful death and a lack of mobility. Just twenty years ago, home concentrators and tanks were available so patients on oxygen therapy could treat their selves in their own home and significantly lengthen their life. In just the last five years, it has been a pleasure to watch technology advance and see the new portable oxygen concentrators. We now have battery operated concentrators that will run on a battery for up to eight hours and can run on a car charger so patients once home-bound can now travel across the country in an airplane or rv. There is also a new 1.8 pound concentrator coming out in the next month that anyone can wear on their belt under their shirt. Howard’s carries a complete line of oxygen therapy and is available to answer any of your questions at 654-9899.

CPAP Mask Irritation

Combating Mask Irritation

One of the most common complaints among CPAP patients is skin irritation from their mask. Many people assume that they must somehow be ‘allergic’ to the silicone in the mask. Silicone allergies are actually extremely rare, which is why it’s used in surgical implants, and even to coat some hypodermic needles to allow them to smoothly pass through the skin. What then is causing the irritation?

First of all, most people have more sensitive skin on their face than they realize because it’s not in constant contact with foreign objects. Sometimes all that’s required is time, and the skin will toughen to the point where it’s not irritated by the mask. (For new patients, it may also be that a properly sized or fitted mask is needed. Mask fitting is initially a trial and error process, and one we’re more than happy to help with.)

Secondly, many patients don’t change their masks often enough. The seals become looser, which requires more tension on the headgear to make the mask work. This extra pressure is often the culprit. Not only that, but if the mask has not been cleaned properly and regularly, bacteria that forms in the presence of the oil and dead skin can cause surface skin infections.

The best defense?

  1. Change masks or seals on schedule.
  2. Clean your mask thoroughly at least weekly.
  3. Do not over tighten your mask.

Give me a call on (509) 697 5793 and I would be happy to talk about your sleep therapy needs.

Thayne Jongeward
Sleep Manager

Thayne has been in charge of the respiratory department at Howard’s for almost two years and has a degree from Central Washington University.

How to get medical supplies covered by your insurance

One of the most important items we do at Howard’s is billing for medical supply items. In order for Howard’s Medical to bill your insurance it starts with the doctor and patient relationship. Patients should have a good relationship with their physician and visit them at least once a year.

If you would like your equipment to be covered by your insurance, you will need to have a prescription from your doctor.  At Howard’s, we are happy to contact your doctor for you but it is important that your doctor know that you really need this item.  If your doctor has no idea you need a specific medical supply item and then hear from our medical supply, he/she is likely to deny the request unless they hear directly from you.  If you are unsure of who to contact regarding the situation, give us a phone call at 509-654-9899 and we would be glad to point you in the right direction.  We bill over 1,000 different kinds of medical supply items and sometimes the requirements differ greatly from Medicare to DSHS (Medicaid), to private insurance (i.e. Regence, Premera, Group Health, etc.).  The requirements also are different from a nebulizer, to motorized scooter, to cpap machine.

We are always striving to match medical supply equipment to patient’s need.  Give us a call at Howard’s on (509) 697 5793 and we would be happy to assist you.

Written by Tracy Jessup

Billing specialist for Howard’s Medical and 2010 graduate of Perry Tech’s billing program

Yakima Medical Supply

New location for Yakima Medical Supply

Howard’s Drug and Medical Supply is pleased to announce that after serving our community in the pharmacy since 1958 and serving the community in the medical supply since 2004, we will be opening a second location to serve the patients and customers of Yakima starting in July.

We quickly realized that one thing that set Howard’s customers apart from other stores is they wanted to interact with our employees.  They didn’t just stop by and pick up their supplies and move on.  They wanted to know the ins and outs of the medical supply item. They wanted to know what insurances covered and didn’t cover. What were the long term implications of choosing one item over the other? Our employees went the extra mile for all of our customers and this is why we eventually chose to move a second location into Yakima.

We proudly serve both Yakima Memorial and Yakima Regional Hospice so our hub will be closer to their main office. This new location will also be about 4-5 times larger than our Selah location.  When someone would come in a look at our one or two lift chairs we would tell them about the other ones in our warehouse.  In Yakima, we will be able to show twelve different lift chairs to all our customers because we want the customer to pick out the most perfect chair for themself.

Our first date we plan on opening is July 11th. In the meantime you may check our Facebook  page for updates, pictures, and videos.  Also, we would love any suggestions on what you would like from your medical supply store because we exist to make your life easier.


Erik Mickelson
Howard’s Medical

Yakima medical supplies. CPAP, Oxygen and Wheelchairs