From The Washington Times:
Nine out of 10 customers got their Hoveround power scooters at “little to no cost,” but American taxpayers were wrongfully charged tens of millions of dollars for scooters that did not meet Medicare reimbursement requirements.
According to a new audit report from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, Hoveround frequently claimed Medicare reimbursements for power wheelchairs and scooters it provided to beneficiaries that did not meet medical-necessity requirements in an apparent scam.
Based on their findings, auditors estimated that Medicare paid Hoveround over $27 million for power chairs and scooters for beneficiaries that might not have needed the equipment.
Auditors randomly selected 200 beneficiaries who received new, used or rented power scooters from Hoveround in 2010 and found that 154 did not meet medical necessity requirements to receive a federally funded scooter.
For example, for 71 beneficiaries, Hoveround’s records did not specify the beneficiaries’ mobility limitations that would establish significant impairment to their daily living, according to the report. Investigators also noted 46 cases where Hoveround’s records did not indicate whether the mobility limitations could have been resolved with the use of a walker or cane instead of a power scooter.
Auditors recommended that Hoveround refund the $27 million to the federal government and implement internal controls to ensure beneficiaries meet Medicare requirements before they receive power wheelchairs.
However, investigators did not implicate the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in their report.
While Hoveround is largely responsible for the waste highlighted in the…