CMS questions $4 million in wheelchair claims

Sunday, July 31, 2005

BATON ROUGE, La. -- CMS has launched an investigation into why Louisiana Medicaid may have needlessly spent as much as $4.3 million dollars last year on wheelchairs for nursing homes, according to the Associated Press. Among other things, some of the money bought chairs for people who died within days of receiving them or before the chairs were delivered. A Medicaid official blamed the problem on the state's failure to require adequate documentation before authorizing payments. State Medicaid assistant director Jerry Phillips said the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is revamping the program to contain costs and make sure only those who really need the wheelchairs get them. Part of that involves providing nursing homes extra money for wheelchairs and no longer paying HME providers directly, the AP reported.