TV station attempts to follow the Medicare paper trail

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05/18/2010

I came across this story about a Medicare bennie who, well, the lead on this story sums it up better than I ever could:

Imagine coming home to find a brand new, $6,000 wheelchair sitting in your living room. That's what happened to Henry Harden of south Dallas. The problem: he didn’t order it, doesn't need it and had no idea where it came from.  Why should you care?

The story first details Harden's attempts to divest himself of the chair and then, when he still received a bill from Medicare, the attempts of his local Fox affiliate to follow "the paper trail."

As I read it I couldn't help but wonder how Medicare ever approved the thing. Why, when the agency continues to come up with ever increasing rules and regs to circumvent fraud, does something like this happen?

I will say that the article raised another question for me: How the heck would competitive bidding have prevented this particular instance?

The answer: It wouldn't.

Theresa Flaherty