Friday, April 30, 2004

Wheelchair crooks roll on to new scam

HOUSTON, Texas - Some of the shysters who took part in the Wheeler Dealer power wheelchair scandal have moved on to a new scam, the Houston Chronicle reported last month. Instead of billing Medicare for unnecessary wheelchairs, they’ve switched to offering “free” blood-pressure checks and other in-home services in exchange for a beneficiary’s Medicare account number, said Barbara McGinity of the Better Business Bureau, who runs a program that helps seniors detect Medicare fraud. The crooks use the account numbers to bill Medicare for the bogus services. McGinity told the Chronicle that a woman who received a “free” blood-pressure check learned that Medicare had been billed $900 for the service.
Four states primed for certification

LEBANON, Tenn. - The California State Assembly recently passed legislation that requires providers to obtain certification before supplying wheeled mobility devices. Although Tennessee is the only state yet to write certification into law, the governors of Missouri, Maryland, Florida and California may all sign similar legislation this month, according to Darren Jernigan, director of government affairs at Permobil. Alabama recently rewrote its Medicaid rules to require certification for providers, following tracks laid by Georgia two years ago. At least four other states - Minnesota, Colorado, Virginia and Texas - are working on certification legislation as well.
Firefighters race to NSM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - To recognize what its founder calls the “cream of the crop,” the Disabled Firefighters and Police Officers of America (DFPOA) recently decided to endorse only one provider of mobility services: National Seating and Mobility. Since 1998, this non-profit organization that supports disabled officers and firefighters and their families, has run the gamut of options in meeting their rehab needs, including getting tangled with some “con artists,” until it decided finally to turn fully to NSM, said Richard Rapp, DFPOA’s founder and executive director. The DFPOA posted the endorsement on its Web site in March and has begun referring all inquiries to NSM locations.