OIG reminds DMEs: Don't cold call bennies

Thursday, October 2, 2003

March 10, 2003

WASHINGTON - The OIG issued a fraud alert last week that warned providers about something they should already know: It's not OK to hire telemarketers to make unsolicited telephone calls to Medicare beneficiaries and try to sell them DME.

" It might be common knowledge, but apparently it is being done," OIG spokesperson Judy Holtz told HME News.

Industry sources say the OIG has begun investigating a number of companies for the infraction, but Holtz declined comment on that speculation.

To help ensure that Medicare beneficiaries aren't pressured into buying items they don’t need - and that taxpayers aren't stuck paying for - DMEs can't making unsolicited telephone calls to Medicare beneficiaries regarding the furnishing of a covered item, except in three specific situations: (i) the beneficiary has given written permission to the supplier to make contact by telephone; (ii) the contact is regarding a covered item the supplier has already furnished the beneficiary; or (iii) the supplier has furnished at least one covered item to the beneficiary during the preceding fifteen months.

For more on this story, see the April Issue of HME News.