CMS fails GAO’s help line test

Friday, December 31, 2004

WASHINGTON - The people who answer Medicare’s telephone help line gave accurate responses to questions less than two-thirds of the time, according to a GAO investigation made public last month. Perhaps the most embarrassing gaffe concerned a question about wheelchairs. Confusing “trunk strength” - a term used by Medicare to mean upper body strength - with a car trunk, one operator “incorrectly explained that Medicare would only cover a power wheelchair if a beneficiary had adequate space to put it in the trunk of his car,” the GAO report said.