Patients: real victims of audits

Friday, March 28, 2014

Mr. Watson’s letter (“28-month delay will be disasterous for providers,” January 2014) was right on the money, no pun intended. It will be disastrous for providers, but the real loser here is the person who must live his or her life from the seat of a wheelchair. We have a number of clients who have rather complicated power wheelchairs. A number of the chairs were initially paid for, but Medicare has been retrieving money on those paid claims at an alarming rate, some as far back as three years. Some of the claims have not yet been paid—all of them are in some stage of appeal.  It’s not that these folks don’t qualify for a chair—Medicare says they do—but a missed step in the procedure has un-qualified them, if you will. Does anyone remember when the big thing was to reduce the amount of paperwork? Are you kidding: We have some files 10 inches thick. The the real disaster here is that those chairs that someone depends on every single day cannot be repaired, neither by the original provider, or any other provider. Medicare will not pay for repairs, because they didn’t pay for the chair.  I am  an ex -gatherer of information for Medicare claims. Ex, because I could no longer take the pain of banging my head on the wall and yanking my hair every single day. Shame on you, Medicare, for the disgraceful way you treat the disabled, just trying to make their way, day to day. 

—Eve Allyn, Saginaw Medical Service