“I didn’t pay a penny for my Scooter, Medicare paid it all!” Remember seeing and hearing this on TV? Yes, these are the lines of a TV commercial for a chain of motorized wheelchair stores that features an elderly lady.
The condition stated above may change with the introduction of a new law which will come into effect on January 1st. As a result, there won’t be an extension to the competitive bidding process that provides equipment to Medicare recipients like our cup holder and other wheelchair accessories. Also, the first month purchase option for Medicare patients may be stopped.
Companies that manufacture and sell these high-tech chairs to Medicare patients identify this change as a huge threat. Jay Broadbent, CEO of Salt Lake City based Alpine Home Medical feels that the change will deteriorate the existing situation further. “The power mobility suppliers are already encountering rising government audits, slow down in reimbursement costs, and reimbursement cuts of above 35 percent for the last five years”, he stated.
He also pointed out that there won’t to be enough providers left to supply the Medicare recipients with mobility devices and this has to be realized by Washington authorities.
In place of elimination of first-month purchase option, for the initial 13 months that a patient uses the device, the government intends to disburse rental payments to providers. Yet several providers exclaim that with credit tight in the sluggish market they can’t get the loans or lines of credits they need to afford the upfront price of buying power wheelchairs from manufacturers.
The new law comes up at a time when Medicare has been cracking down on scams linked to the purchase of power wheelchairs (hopefully not our drink holder) that may cost thousands of dollars. Last month, the Justice Department declared the guilty petitions of three people who were involved in a Medicare fraud plan worked out of a Durable Medical Equipment (DME) a company based in Houston, Texas.
The appeals of the defendants tell that they were paid bribes for referring Medicare beneficiaries to the DME Company, Luant & Odera Inc which presented fake claims to Medicare for power wheelchairs, wheelchair accessories, and motorized scooters which were not at all medically required.
On its website, Medicare explains its concern with fraud and states that majority of doctors, health care providers, suppliers, and private companies who works with them are truthful, but a few aren’t which causes problems for everyone.