I don't think even Medicare would agree with this

 - 
07/16/2010

I don't care to give this one-sided opinion piece in the Orlando Sun Sentinel any more press, but in case you've missed it, you should know how badly skewed the perception of the HME industry is, at least in areas where Medicare fraud is rampant.

There is so much to dislike about it, it's hard to decide where to start. I think, however, that my biggest issue with this piece is the way he keeps tying HME and competitive bidding in with fraud:

On the first full moon of the year, a group of medical-supply lobbyists and a group of Medicare bureaucrats meet at midnight. They put three pieces of folded paper in a hat -- 20 percent, 30 percent and 40 percent.

They pick one and add that to the cost of the wheelchair.

Then they put the paper back into the hat and move on to oxygen tanks and all the other equipment Medicare provides.

Meanwhile, down in Miami, the drug dealers who are out on parole get the updates. They set up medical-supply companies, submit the requisite fraudulent forms and open for business.

Pretty soon, dead people all over South Florida are buying wheelchairs. So are live people who don't even know it because their identities have been stolen.

Really? Where is he making the connection between someone like provider Rob Brant (sorry Rob, but I got to pick on someone) and drug dealers. Did I miss something?

Apparently, the writer has missed efforts to curb Medicare fraud, which the HME industry stands behind 100%. If Medicare is paying for a wheelchair for a dead man, that's a Medicare problem, not a provider problem. Hell, we've all heard stories of beneficiaries trying to report fraud or give back stuff they didn't order. But, Medicare don't want to know.

I close by saying that this piece (notice I have refused to call it an article, as there was no reporting involved) is so misinformed, so biased and so slanted (am I being repetitive) that I think even CMS would agree it's wrong.

Theresa Flaherty

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