More HME scandal brews in Florida

Sunday, August 22, 2004

August 23, 2004

MIAMI - The inklings of another, eye-popping HME industry scandal are brewing again, this time in Dade County (Miami) Florida where a considerable number of doctors have sent to CMS an affidavit that declares they did not prescribe medical equipment delivered by a vast group of DME suppliers.
As a result, CMS has suspended payments to hundreds of suppliers in South Florida, according to Javier Talamo, an attorney at Hialeah, Fla.-based Kravitz & Talamo, who is representing 30 of those suppliers.
Talamo has countered allegations of wrong-doing by suppliers he represents with signed prescriptions, signed CMNs, delivery tickets and affidavits by patients who state that they did indeed receive prescriptions from their physicians for DME services provided.
“My concern is that if Medicare takes too long in responding to the rebuttals and evaluating the evidence we are sending, our clients will go out of business,” he said.
CMS had not confirmed receipt of the physician’s affidavit by late Friday. A spokesperson for the National Supplier Clearinghouse said Friday she was unaware that vast numbers of South Florida suppliers had had their Medicare numbers suspended.
But the situation is already buzzing among suppliers in Dade and Broward counties.
 “Providers are saying these doctors have signed the CMNs and the doctors are saying they did not,” said one Miami area supplier.
Talamo still can’t trace the source of the physician’s affidavit and the suspensions to a root cause.
“We are in the process right now of trying to find out what the nature of the allegations are and where this is all going to go,” he said.