Wednesday, June 30, 2004

New RATC chair, co-chair get to work

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The new chair and co-chair of AAHomecare’s Rehab and Assistive Technology Council won’t have any trouble keeping busy over the coming months. In addition to updating RATC’s Web site and logo (it looks like a wheelchair trapped in a house, said Chairman Matt Burke), the duo will lead an effort to gather data that justifies the service component provided by rehab professionals. That data will be critical in AAHomecare’s efforts to repeal Medicare reimbursement cuts scheduled to take effect in 2005, said Burke, director of operations for Burke Medical equipment in Chicopee, Mass. AAHomecare name him RATC chair in June. Larry Rice, general manager for the Wheelchair Shop in Houston, Texas, is the group’s new co-chair.
Brothers plead guilty to power chair fraud

SHERMAN, Texas - Two brothers who owned medical equipment companies in North Texas pleaded guilty last month to submitting fraudulent bills for power wheelchairs to Medicare between August 2002 and July 2003, the Associated Press reported June 9. Anietie Edoho-Ukwa admitted his company, Grace Medical Services in McKinney, submitted 10 fraudulent claims totaling nearly $95,000 for power. Ukwa Edoho-Ukwa admitted his company, Genesys Medical Equipment in Frisco, submitted nine fraudulent claims totaling more than $75,000 for power wheelchairs. In all instances, Medicare beneficiaries either never got the chair or were given a cheaper scooter instead.
California Medicaid aims to boost rehab standards

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In January, California Medicaid began decreasing reimbursement for custom wheelchairs 20% below MSRP for providers not certified by RESNA, NRRTS or who don’t have a PT or OT on staff. For next year, the state HME association is pushing even tougher standards for rehab dealers. If a bill currently making its way through the state legislature passes, providers without a certified person on staff won’t be able to bill Medicaid for custom rehab.