Justice Department sues Scooter Store

Sunday, May 1, 2005

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Justice filed suit Friday against the New Braunfels, Texas-based Scooter Store, charging the nation's largest supplier of power wheelchairs with fraud.

The government alleges that the Scooter Store told callers to its 800-number that the Medicare program would pay for expensive power wheelchairs but not for less expensive scooters.

The DOJ suit, filed in San Antonio, Texas, but handled by attorneys based in Washington, is actually a counter-claim to a Scooter Store complaint against the government for disallowing hundreds of reimbursement claims for power wheelchairs.

The Scooter Store has reportedly billed the government more than $400 million since 1997, though insiders say that number is likely to be much higher.

According to an Associated Press report, the Scooter Store said the government's complaint "indicates that some officials are more interested in second-guessing the conclusions reached by doctors than they are in making sure that qualified Medicare beneficiaries have access to the medical equipment their doctors say they need."