Monday, January 31, 2005

Jury indicts three in giant fraud scheme

DALLAS - A federal grand jury issued a 43-count indictment last week against the owners of three DME companies, charging they billed Medicare for more than $27 million in phony power wheelchair claims, according to the Associated Press. The grand jury indicted Aniekeme B. Akpabot, owner of Mina Medical Equipment and Supplies in Mesquite; Okon Eyo Idiong, owner of OK Medical Equipment and Supplies and OK Medical Equipment and Supplies of Southfield, Mich.; and Aniefiok Jimmy Eking, owner of Medical Equipment and Supplies and Mescorp Pharmaceuticals of Houston. Authorities said that the three defendants were the main players in a fraud scheme that operated across the southern and southwestern United States, the AP reported. According to the indictment, the three defrauded Medicare by soliciting patients and finding doctors to help obtain certificates of medical necessity.
Clinician coalition blasts in-the-home requirement

ALANTA - Medicare’s “in the home” requirement sits in direct conflict with standard clinical practice and public policy, a group of rehab clinicians stated last month. This requirement fails to recognize the many benefits that come from allowing a person with limited mobility to go beyond the four walls of their home for activities, such as shopping for groceries and medicine, banking, or for appointments, according to the Clinician Task Force. Moreover, while the provision was meant to differentiate between medical equipment used in institutions from devices used in homes, CMS has instead applied it as an eligibility criterion for the benefit, the group stated in a release.
Industry awaits new wheelchair codes

WASHINGTON - Industry watchers expected CMS to release its new codes for power wheelchairs by the end of January. The new codes are necessary to better define the wide range of technology currently being processed and classified mainly under one code, the K0011. Currently, upwards of 40 new codes are in the works, including pediatric codes, lightweight, standard, heavy duty, bariatric and miscellaneous. Medicare officials want the new codes in place by July.