Larry Jackson brings ‘market attention’ to Sunrise Medical

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Friday, September 11, 2020

FRESNO, Calif. – Larry Jackson has become a household name in the complex rehab market and, as the new president of Sunrise Medical North America, one of his goals is to elevate the company to that same status. “They have a very good complement of products,” said Jackson, who worked for 26 years as part of the executive team at Permobil. “They just haven’t been able to get that market attention. I hope to be able to bring that.” Here’s what Jackson, who is also a member of Sunrise Medical’s global senior leadership team, had to say about what continues to motivate him to “fight the fight” for complex rehab. 

HME News: What do you see as Sunrise Medical’s position in the market and how do you plan to advance that position? 

Larry Jackson: Sunrise has a pretty broad portfolio of products. They have manual wheelchairs and power wheelchairs; they have a pediatric business that’s growing; they have the Jay seating line. Those are the four legs of the stool that we want to continue to grow. 

HME: We’re having this conversation on the same day Sunrise Medical announced it has acquired the pediatric brands Leckey and Firefly.  

Jackson: If you look back at Sunrise’s early days, it’s always had a strong pediatric presence – I would probably say the most of any complex rehab manufacturer. It has the broadest portfolio, probably due to it starting as a manual wheelchair company. The strategy is to continue to build that business – it’s a passion of many of the people who work here. 

HME: What are the biggest challenges for complex rehab manufacturers right now? 

Jackson: The biggest is, we have a lot of technology that we’d love to bring to market but with the funding mechanisms we have right now it’s nearly impossible. We can’t even get seat elevation or standing seating through CMS. It’s hard to bring technology to the forefront, which makes it hard to add to our products, which, in turn, makes it hard for consumers. If I’m a heart surgeon and we now have the ability for robotic heart surgery – I’m going to get funding for that. There has to be a better mechanism for us. 

HME: What about all of the consolidation in the complex rehab market on the provider side – is that a challenge? 

Jackson: As a manufacturer, of course you want to be aligned with the national providers, but more than 60% of the market is still smaller independent dealers. Sunrise has worked very hard to work with these smaller independent dealers; they’re still a big part of the business. You need a little of both; you need a balance; you need the competition. 

HME: What are the biggest opportunities for manufacturers? 

Jackson: The good news is I still want to fight that fight – a lot of people do. There are so many people who have been doing this for so long, when we get together it’s like a reunion. We continue to push forward to get our voices – the voices of consumers – heard.