Briefs

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Saturday, July 31, 2004

SUNY patent may give lift to wheelchair users

ALBANY, N.Y. - A device designed by researchers at State University of New York-Farmingdale to help wheelchair users avoid potentially deadly sores has earned its second U.S. patent, SUNY officials said. The device, designed by SUNY Farmingdale researchers, uses cushioned support slats that are raised and lowered by small electric motors to sequentially relieve pressure points of wheelchair users. The patented movement is designed specifically to relieve pressure on capillaries. The massaging action stimulates blood and lymph flow toward an existing sore, which speeds healing and prevents the need for long bed rest that can lead to depression and blood thickening.
Doc pleads guilty to power chair fraud

CHULA VISTA, Calif - A doctor here pleaded guilty in June to defrauding the government of more than $730,000 by signing false requests for Medicare and Medicaid to pay for power wheelchairs. Romulo Valdez faces up to five years in federal prison at sentencing Sept. 10, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. In court papers, the U.S. Attorney’s Office claimed Valdez conspired with Benison Medical Supply in Chula Vista and a worker at Benison, Renato Paulin. Neither Paulin nor Benison have been charged, but lawyers said in a court filing this month that an indictment or a plea bargain is expected by the end of summer.
K14 scammer settles with feds

PHILADELPHIA - The former COO and compliance officer of Inglis Durable Medical Equipment company in Bristol agreed to pay back more than $300,000 after the U.S. Attorney’s office here charged him with a bait-and-switch power wheelchair scheme. The feds say that from April 1998 until October 3, 2003, Scott D. Katherine billed Medicare and other third party payors for highly specialized motorized wheelchairs (K0014s) but delivering K0011s. Katherine was also accused of billing for power tilt and recline seating systems, power elevated leg rests, and seat cushion enhancements that were never provided, passing off used wheelchairs as new and forging CMNs.

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