Sunday, August 31, 2003

Man pleads guilty to $5-million fraud scheme

MIAMI - The co-owner of two South Florida DME companies recently plead guilty to staging the delivery of power wheelchairs then billing Medicare for them. Todd W. Neff and six others have been charged with defrauding Medicare out of some $5 million, according to the Associated Press. Neff was indicted in February, but he fled to Costa Rica shortly after his indictment; he surrendered to federal authorities in April. Neff reportedly gave kickbacks to Medicare patients who agreed to claim they were seeking motorized wheelchairs, according to the Associated Press. To create proof of delivery, Neff took photographs of them sitting in wheelchairs. The wheelchairs were taken away to stage another delivery. Neff faces up to 25 years in prison.
IAMES gets back to rehab

ELGIN, Ill. - The Illinois Association of Medical Equipment Services (IAMES) is hosting a seminar this month called “Unscrambling the Rehab/Assistive Technology Puzzle,” in the first of what will be a series of attempts to court rehab providers back to the association. “It’s no secret that our state association, and others, have lost rehab members over the years,” said Alan Kirk, education director of IAMES. “Rehab members don’t feel like their state associations represent them.” The focus of the seminar is explaining the nuances of the rehab industry to those interested in joining it or those already in it. The VGM Group’s U.S. Rehab was scheduled to be on hand to explain the financial aspects of starting and running a rehab business. The National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers (NRRTS), the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) and the Certified Environmental Access Consultants (CEAC), as well as vendors like Sunrise Medical and Invacare, were also scheduled to be on hand.
OIG readies wheelchair report

WASHINGTON - The OIG expects to issue a report later this year that examines the appropriateness of Medicare payments for power wheelchairs. The report is just one of many the OIG undertook as part of its fiscal 2003 Work Plan. As part of its study on wheelchairs, the OIG stated in the Work Plan that it “will assess whether suppliers’ documentation supports the claim, whether the item was medically necessary, and whether the beneficiary actually received the item.”