All-Med takes state's bad rap in stride

Friday, August 31, 2007

MIAMI LAKES, Fla. - When Raul Rodriguez bought his new boat, he christened it, "It Wasn't Me."
It's his way of laughing at a situation that isn't always funny--getting mixed up with fraudulent companies.
In south Florida, which has a reputation for rampant HME fraud among fly-by-night companies, Rodriguez, president and CEO of All-Med Services, says three to four times a year, he finds himself defending his reputation.
"My name has been in the paper, and there have been people arrested with a similar name to mine and a similar name to the company," he said. "We just call the paper and demand they run a correction."
In 2004, a company called All-Med Billing, also in Miami Lakes, made the news for its $122 million fraud scheme, causing Rodriguez's company to do damage control. These days, he is able to take it in stride.
Rodriguez places much of the blame for Medicare fraud on the government.
"They keep on giving provider numbers to companies that don't stand up to the same standards we do," said Rodriguez. "The application process is a joke, and accreditation should have been mandated years ago."
In July, Medicare launched a two-year demo requiring providers in south Florida and the Los Angeles area to reapply for billing numbers. Rodriguez doesn't think providers in good standing with Medicare should have to be put through the same strainer, but said he'll go with the flow.
"People who know me and know my company, know (we're honest)," he said.