Q&A: Peter Kopp

Kids Mobility Network: Sponsors, donors wanted
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Friday, December 29, 2017

DENVER – The Kids Mobility Network hit $5 million in donated wheelchairs, walkers and other mobility equipment in November. Here’s what Peter Kopp, who founded the nonprofit with his wife Christy, had to say about the difficulties of doing good.

HME News: You first started accepting donated equipment in 2005, with the goal of refurbishing it and getting it back in the hands of children with disabilities. What’s surprised you on this journey?

Peter Kopp: The demand is so much greater than we anticipated. When we first started, we thought, we’ll help a few kids who are falling through the cracks. Then we learned everyone is falling through the cracks. Providers do all they can within the limits of insurance, but for a lot of these kids, it’s not enough to meet their needs.

HME: How is insurance limited?

Kopp: My daughter uses a gait trainer and even though we have a DME benefit with our insurance, it’s not covered. If you have a child with disabilities, you’re going to be under-insured no matter what.

HME: When talking about the limits of insurance, it’s not only the lack of coverage but also the process required to get equipment processed, approved and delivered.

Kopp: The timeframe to get equipment can take so long. That’s an interesting demand that has developed for us: If a child has an immediate need, we’ll provide the equipment, because we can do it super fast, and then when they get their new equipment, they can use our equipment as a backup or donate it back to us. We can fill that gap—that way the child never stops working on their therapy goals and they stay safe throughout the entire process.

HME: You’re a nonprofit and you work with donations, but otherwise, you operate much like a provider, right?

Kopp: Yes, we have an operations staff of two part-time ATPs, and then Christy and I run the business side of it. The children we serve get a professional fitting from an ATP. The only difference between our wheelchair and a new wheelchair is they may have wanted green, and we have blue and it has a few scratches on it.

HME: Have donations kept up with demand?

Kopp: The equipment is the easy part. We have a 4,000-square-foot warehouse that has big steel racks and is packed to the rafters. If I had a building the size of Walmart, I could fill it. Getting the equipment examined and assessed, and then getting it to the kids—that’s the difficult part.

HME: How are you increasing your ability to get more equipment to more children?

Kopp: I build businesses for a living, so that’s second nature for me, and that is the eventual goal with Kids Mobility Network. We’d like to expand into other markets, because the need is everywhere. Ten minutes ago I got off the phone with a woman in New York who found us online. But that’s going to require support on a bigger level, which is why we’re actively seeking corporate sponsors and donors, so we can hire the additional necessary staff.