Riverside investigation gains steam

Sunday, May 11, 2008

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Officials at Pride Mobility Products met with Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., on May 2 to discuss suspicious bids and relationships in the Riverside competitive bidding area. They expect Lewis to echo their concerns to the Department of Health and Human Services.

"In the first 10 minutes of our meeting, his legislative aide said, 'We've heard from constituents, we're concerned and we'll write a letter,'" said Seth Johnson, Pride's vice president of government affairs.

Pride officials sent a letter to DHHS Secretary Michael Leavitt on May 1 notifying him that "18 of the winning standard power wheelchair category bidders had all of the following in common: price, manufacturer and consultant." These bidders submitted prices that were as much as 70% lower than the current Medicare fee schedule.

Lewis will likely write a letter with Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., Johnson said.

Pride officials also met last week with Reps. Mary Bono, R-Calif.; Joe Baca, D-Calif.; and Gary Miller, R-Calif.

"We haven't heard back from Leavitt yet, but we expect to hear from him soon," Johnson said. "Certainly, the additional letters from the members of Congress should only expedite that."