The Scooter Store, the nation´s largest supplier of mobility vehicles is suspected of defrauding the U.S. Government of over $100 million in bogus Medicare and Medicaid claims. On Wednesday, over 100 federal and state law enforcement officers raided the New Braunfels, Texas headquarters of the company as authorities after allegations the firm pressured doctors into prescribing their scooters for patients who do not need them. This follows a damning exposé by CBS This Morning in January which alleged that the company over-billed Medicare by over $100 million between 2009-2012. The CBS investigation found that The Scooter Store would harass physicians
This is the first I have heard of this, but am not surprised. The commercials are sleazy, emphasizing "no cost to you" without mentioning that there is a significant cost to me and everyone else who tries to earn a living. The people I have seen running around in them seem to be able to walk just fine when it suits them.
They are not a bad idea, but it´s a pretty rare case that a person couldn´t get by with a $50 walker instead, and there´s little reason for the taxpayer to pony up the other $950 or whatever for these electric toys.
And I don´t doubt that most are junked after a couple of years (when the recipients die), or we´d be waist-deep in the things by now.
I knew this stuff was going on for years. I had heard of people who would get these easily over many years even though they didn´t need them. I also heard of people selling them after--making a nice profit off us taxpayers. I am not surprised that the company strong-armed doctors too. Yeah, I had the same reaction when I heard "at no cost to you". I wouldn´t make anything out of Romney´s being at the guy´s house for a fundraiser. That doesn´t mean he was aware of what the guy was doing.
We need to end the entire welfare state. We need to end Mediscare, Medi-Kool aid, SNAP, EBT, Section 8 - end it all. It is a cancer that is destroying our nation financially and morally. We need to return to a culture of work and surplus, instead of sloth and deficit and debt.
The above posts pretty well describe my thoughts about scooters but do you suppose the fact the company is in Texas has anything to do with the Feds getting involved? That plus supporting anyone other than Bam Bam could lead to big trouble. Whatever happened to the guitar maker the Feds raided?
My Dad got a free scooter and while he really did need it due to health issues he was told that Medicare paid for it. A lot of seniors still think that all of their government bennies are still coming out of some giant savings account that they paid into all of their working lives. Most of them suck up every penny they paid in within 3 years after they retire then it becomes another welfare program.
#9 - right beside the part that says you can kill your unborn child, that the government will keep up all the babies your decide to have with no man to help keep them up, beside the part that says everyone gets a house whether you can pay for it or not and the part that says taxpayers will pay for all your birth control (if you decide to use it because you have your quota of welfare babies)!!
I am amazed at how many posters here automatically assume that the government´s position on this is correct.
If you have every worked with government billing, then you know that the government treats most any legitimate difference of opinion as ´fraud´. You can´t find a particular invoice from 5 years ago within 5 minutes when they show up? Fraud. (The fact that it is stored in a box in another billing and could be retrieved in 2 hours...irrelevant.)
The problem isn´t this store or any other vendor. The problem is the regulations written by Medicare allow for 100% funding of certain services whether the patient really needs that level of service or not. Companies see these founts of money...and supply the service.
There are many people with legitimate health needs who use handicapped parking, scooters or motorized wheelchairs and don´t ´look´ handicapped to the casual observer. People with severe lung ailments, heart ailments, or joint ailments may not be able to walk long distances. It doesn´t mean they can´t walk at all, so yes, you may see them walk from their car or get up and walk from their wheelchair. But they may have great pain or great stress on lungs or hearts to walk 30 feet.
I am on Medicare, have breathing problems, and have to sleep with a CPAP machine.
Several years ago the company where I get the filter pads started calling me every month soliciting me to order other items.
One such item was the face mask which is quite expensive. The young lady said I was "entitled" to a new one every three months. When I said no, she countered that it was free, that I didn´t have to pay for it. There was a long pause after I said, "you are correct, but my children and grandchildren do have to pay for it".
Maybe it was just a coincidence that the solicitations seemed to diminish after that -- caused me to wonder if the young lady was on a commission program of some kind.
For the record, I get a new mask every 2 to 3 years.
The commercials here in the N.Y.C. area are omnipresent, and yet I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have seen people in the Scooters anywhere, including Malls. People must be getting them freebies and then just putting them in a closet.
Don´t get me started about the massive fraud and scam of "Handicapped" parking. How many times have you seen "handicapped" young people jump out of their cars and waltz into stores and restaurants etc. Not that there aren´t legitimate handicapped people in vans with ramps and wheelchairs, but there´s massive fraud and fake "handicapped" people everywhere that are too lazy to walk an additional few feet.
Some of the places with "handicapped" parking are absurd out in the middle of nowhere such as rest stops and parks. Ridiculous.
My Mother has a scooter from The Scoooter Store. She has arthritus so bad that it is extremely hard for her to get from her bed to the scooter and from the scooter to her special chair where she spends most of her day. The scooter allows her to do that and to get to her kitchen and her bathroom. It might be possible for her to still do those things with a regular wheelchair, but I doubt it. The scooter is allowing her to live out much of the last part of her life in her little $25,000 (today´s dollars) home. Although she is a happy person, I would not wish her current life on any of you; but from some of your comments, it might do you well to have to live just one of her days.
It took a number of trips to doctors and therapists for my Mother to get approval of the scooter for Medicare payment. My biggest concern about fraud as I helped my Mother through the red tape was the possibility of kickbacks to the therapist who gave the final approval. If those exist or if other fraud exists, it should be punished; but none of that changes the fact that my Mother really needs the scooter.
The question of whether there should be a Medicare program at all is harder, but I know one thing: in the case of my Mother , we are getting lots of good for our tax dollars and all of us in her family appreciate that very much.
“After we win this election, it’s our turn. Payback time. Everyone not with us is against us and they better be ready because we don’t forget. The ones who helped us will be rewarded, the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve. There is going to be hell to pay."
I know of only one person who has one of these. A friend, crippled by polio when she was a young woman. This small "vehicle" changed her life in recent years, increasing her mobility, her ability to travel and get around.
#29 “...Don´t get me started about the massive fraud and scam of "Handicapped" parking….”
A friend of my wife takes care of her MIL who qualifies for a handicapped placard. This lady thinks nothing of saying ‘Let’s take my car. We can park ing the Blue zones and won’t have to walk so far.’ And I’ve said for years that apparently a four-door sedan in Mississippi automatically qualifies for a handicap license plate.
Come to think of it, as regards those TV spots that stress the likelihood of customers getting theirs “absolutely free” or something equally irresistible, they’ve always struck me as being high-pressure rather than high-standard; perhaps something not unlike… “From Ronco! Ron Popeil’s Pocket Scooter!”
The younger we are the more we are prone to scoff at those who need walkers, handicapped parking permits, and even scooters. Wait until you have a problem with an ankle, a knee or a hip. Your perspective will change dramatically.
Medicare should not pay 100% of anything. While there are seniors that honestly believe all of their medical costs should be paid fully by the government (not taxpayers). When something is "free" we want all we can get.
By the same token, the federal government should not be handing out taxpayer dollars to fund pet projects of a misguided and, in some ways an ignorant, president. It should be criminal on the part of the recipient and president when the grants and loan guarantees go to political contributors and cronies.
Remember, it was LBJ, the most corrupt Texan in history, who gave us Medicare. For all the good health care provided, the costs have been so excessive that our economy cannot support it.
I´ve got mixed feelings about this. I´m the caregiver for my dad & right now I know MANY people who are dealing with a disabled adult in the home & it ain´t easy. I have been trying to get a few more benefits for him through VA. They do a good job in some areas, but they are so slow to approve people who obviously need extra help. We came in to the system late, because we are proud & stubborn & with the help of family - tried for many years NOT to use or abuse the system unnecessarily. Well, everybody has died off or moved away & I deal with it alone. Recently, I get phone calls from the store that we rent his trapeze bed from & it´s always about compliance & Medicare audits. I even had to drag him out on a cold day & for an extra (& repeat) doctor visit because I was told that the doctor didn´t fill out all of the paperwork correctly. If you´ve got two good legs under you - rejoice - because you will need them when you become a caregiver. Odds are very good for it.
I have no objection to anyone who needs a scooter getting one. What I objected to were those non-stop ads that pushed the scooters too hard. One particular one had a sleazy looking guy saying, "And it didn´t cost me a dime!!!" It was particularly galling and made you wonder how much fraud was involved.
These scooter companies promoted themselves and their product way too hard to a vulnerable and gullible audience.
#26, thanks for pointing that out, and bless your wife and her rheumatologist!
Besides the cost to the taxpayers of this rampant fraud, there is also a humanitarian issue that is rarely recognized -- the fact that a large percentage of scooter users would likely be healthier, happier, and in less pain if they got off their butts and walked more often.
Not talking about the severely disabled, but about people with some kinds of arthritis and back pain.
I myself was practically disabled with a bad back, and very painful hips and knees. Then we got a dog that needed a good, vigorous daily walk. Yes, it was painful at first to walk the dog, but after gradually getting up to speed, the pain disappeared, and I´m much the healthier for it.
The government run healthcare system is incompetent. In Florida, there is $4 Billion in Medicare fraud annually in Dade & Broward counties alone. Do you think BCBS, Aetna, Cigna or any other private health insurance agency allows this kind of fraud? "Gee whiz, Dr. Menendez performed 832 MRI´s last week! He certainly is productive"...
The better have a look at the wheelchair store too. A friend that owns a shop near a homeless shelter said a truck rolled up one day and delivered hundreds of wheelchairs and she soon all the once upright walkers became newly wheelchair bound. They get tired of actually rolling them so they "sit-walk" along. This happened right at the same time all the disability enrollments soared.
It is just me, but I have a repaired hip socket from a car accident with a drunk and nerve-damage to the rt leg so it is small er. Also a stent. My friends say get a handicap placard. I say no. I won´t give in. As long as I can walk I will do so. Spend 50 days in bed and it changes you. I don´t want to see the hndicap logo every day as it is bad juju for the mind. But I don´t begrudge them to those that need them.and some people can dash to the store but have other probs that are handicaps. This Scooter Store´s ads were awful and seemed crooked.
Rheumatoid arthritis isn´t always obvious to an onlooker. RA sufferers know that every day is different, some days are better than others. For me, walking is a struggle most of the time. My rheumatologist gave me a handicap parking permit when I asked for one -- and I was embarrassed to ask for it. I have great parking karma, so there are many times I don´t even need to use it. But I am glad to have it when I do need it.
#26 -- I´d look for another rheumatologist if mine thought a handicap parking permit would somehow undermine his patient´s activity level. Unless he suffers from RA himself, he´s just someone who doesn´t know making a decision for someone who does -- not all that rare a bird.
Why do you people hate so much? Instead of whining and crying about fraud why don´t you do something about it? Work to stop it? No, you have to insult us who truly need medical devices to satisfy how important you think you are.
As for people getting out of cars and walking into stores, that is possible under some circumstances. I DO NOT run. I can walk short distances but not long distances. As an example, I can walk into a store but then I use their scooter because I could never walk the length of a super Wal-Mart.
I now have my own scooter which has extended my ability to get around and stay out longer where before I could not stay out long before I had to lie down.
As for parking, the LAW says that if one parks in a handicap parking spot, the handicap person MUST BE in the vehicle. Unfortunately, some family members think they can park in an HC spot and hang the blue tag. They are the ones who should be punished. Unfortunately there isn´t enough police around to enforce this but you can report them. But you better be sure it is a false usage and not a legitimate one or it could backfire on you.
I´d love to be 100% healthy, however, if any of you self-righteous smug folks in the forum wishes to trade places with us any time just bring it on. You may have the mouth but I doubt you have the guts.
This company is bogus as is the whole industry. Ads say "no cost to you" and don´t mention that the chance of this happening is remote at best. They the high pressure sell to old folks for thousands to get a $1,500.00 scouter you could buy from Costco for peanuts. More power to the FBI on this one. From personal experiance with my dad.
Most power chairs are in the $3k-$6k range. The one I am supposed to use would have been $11k. I have private insurance and I looked at the costs. I decided I didn´t need new so I bought a used one locally for $500 plus $300 for batteries. I don´t mind a few scratches. And it was all out of my pocket, I owe no one anything for it. These chairs are not all fun and games. I have to be very careful where I park and what stores I plan on visiting. A silly 2" curb stops me dead. It takes a good 5min to load or unload it ( not much until you factor cold, rain, and/or snow). Why anyone would WANT to use these is beyond me.
Who got what out of the Solyndra billions? At least the scooter store produced something useful to, what, hundreds of thousands of people.
I was told years ago I would be in a wheelchair eventually. But not yet. So I have a handicapped parking tag which my state puts my photo on so its for me only. I paid for my canes, then my rolling walkers and I´m doing all I can to stay on my feet. But when I can no longer get around upright, I might need help with motorized vehicle. Unless you are mobility impaired you have NO IDEA what it is like to slowly lose your ability to get around. Was the Scooter Store out to commit fraud, or just help people with a need?
I don´t think many of us here begrudge genuinely impaired people one of these scooters. It´s the massive government rip-offs from companies selling these things that bother me. I could tell when these ads started that there would be fraud especially when they promise to do the negotiating for you.
You can also bet that these aren´t the only things that Medicare and Medicaid are getting conned about. Billions and billions in fraud going on in these programs.
It isn´t that people that need them shouldn´t have them. It is that companies like this charge Medicare 5 times what they are really worth.
My give a crap meter is just about to it´s max limit with the fraud and corruption going on anymore. I know WAY too many people that get some kind of check for something and never do squat. There is nothing wrong with them that a good boot in the pants wouldn´t cure, but why should they bother. Everything is FREEEEEEEEEEEE!!!1!1!
I´m one of those irritating people who has a handicapped tag. In South Carolina a large photo is now required on the tag, which is a good thing. Don´t see too many folks jumping out of their vehicles and running into the store around here any more. Like several people on this thread, it´s not obvious I need that little bit of help as unaided mobility lasts only a short period of time.
I pay out of my own pocket for aqua wellness therapy ($50/month) which is why I can now keep mobile without the constant use of a walker and/or cane. Note "constant." I do need assistance if I walk more than a block or so.
And, no, I´m not half crippled because I´m overweight. The crumbling knees followed by the crumbling back came first.
I never believe this government. My guess is the death panels are starting and these people won´t be needing any more scooters so it´s now being called fraud. Many poeple that need them shouldn´t have them because they can´t drive.
My problem - that scooter is a piece of crap that probably costs less than #50 to make. Did the gov´t or gov´t agency "approve" it for Medicare? I can´t wait to hear some of the remarks due back from the reps at The Scooter Store.
Let´s not get hyper-sensitive on this subject people. Sure, some people need something like this to improve the quality of their life. No one here begrudges them that. It´s the people who don´t need them PLUS all of the ancillary costs that get tossed on anything related to Medicare that people have a problem with.
They raid the Scooter Store, accusing it of stealing gvt funds, yet they allow Solyndra execs to not only walk, they allow them to take millions inf bonuses after the co went bankrupt on the tax payer´s dime! This is just a government gone nuts.
Wow, a lot of hate on the site today. Put aside your feeling for the enterprise and look into why this investigation is occurring. #5 has it right. This feels an awful lot like payback for a legitimate company backing anyone other than President Obama.
The problem is hate. Hate totally unconnected to compassion that turns normally nice people into the same nasty unfeeling jerks as their liberal counterparts. Once again Obama strikes and the assumption is his target deserves all the trashing dished out. A handy coverup for the destruction of an unpopular private company. Did they refuse to play the operating protection racket preferred by our community organizer(The enforcer). It´s payola for his coffers?. I would have tried any means if I could have given that mobility to my husband who was bed bound too long. Now it´s painful to be told that even with a chronic condition my mind and health is that of a woman half my age and i am without my anchor.
I want the FBI to get on those people who keep calling me about an expensive shop vac to inflate my little ole private part, and “free” machines, batteries, strips, "control solution", little sharp things and sharp thing holders, to check my blood sugar several times a day to make certain that it is at least above 300, like my weight. Otherwise, I’ll have to run out for another gallon of ice cream.
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A powerful storm that crept across the country dropped snow, freezing rain and sleet on the Mid-Atlantic region and headed northeast Sunday, turning NFL playing fields in Pennsylvania into winter wonderlands, dumping a foot of snow in Delaware and threatening a messy Monday commute in the northeast corridor. The storm forced the cancellation of thousands of flights across the U.S. and slowed traffic on roads, leading to a number of accidents, including a fatal crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Morgantown that led to a series of fender-benders involving 50 cars that stranded some motorists for up to seven hours.
Manhattan´s Chelsea neighborhood is home to art galleries, fashion stores, townhouses and now a new breed of cockroach that won´t die even if forced to live outside all winter. The High Line, a park that turned a dilapidated stretch of elevated railway in the neighborhood into one of New York´s newest tourist attractions, may have been responsible for bringing a new breed of cockroach to the city. Rutgers University insect biologists Jessica Ware and Dominic Evangelista said the species Periplaneta japonica is well documented in Asia but was never confirmed in the United States until now. The scientists, whose findings were published
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