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(NPR)   FBI raids The Scooter Store, slow but highly maneuverable chase in progress   (npr.org) divider line 41
    More: Interesting, FBI, car chase, TSA, Texas Attorney General, New Braunfels, Medicare fraud, Melissa Block, crack down  
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10014 clicks; posted to Main » on 22 Feb 2013 at 9:29 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2013-02-22 04:22:12 PM  
7 votes:
The Scooter Store is owned by Sun Capital, the investment firm owned by Marc Leder, the guy who hosted the fundraiser where Mitt Romney made his "47%" comment.
2013-02-23 12:08:02 AM  
5 votes:

AllUpInYa: 1. Defraud government of $800+ million
2. Hide $20 million away
3. Go to minimum security prison for 16 months
4. Move to a non-extradition country with your $20 million

Ain't that how it's done?


Not quite. It goes a little more like this:

1. Defraud government of $800+ million
2. Hide $20 million away
3. Don't spend even a second within a mile of a prison, county jail or police precinct holding cell, because you did not make the mistake of ripping off rich people like Bernie Madoff did
4. Become Governor of Florida
2013-02-22 10:13:39 PM  
4 votes:
Matt Taibbi's now-infamous Rolling Stone article is relevant here.

Scanning the thousands of hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn't a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters. As Palin launches into her Ronald Reagan impression - "Government's not the solution! Government's the problem!" - the person sitting next to me leans over and explains.

"The scooters are because of Medicare," he whispers helpfully. "They have these commercials down here: 'You won't even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!' Practically everyone in Kentucky has one."

A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can't imagine it.

After Palin wraps up, I race to the parking lot in search of departing Medicare-motor-scooter conservatives. I come upon an elderly couple, Janice and David Wheelock, who are fairly itching to share their views.

"I'm anti-spending and anti-government," crows David, as scooter-bound Janice looks on. "The welfare state is out of control."

"OK," I say. "And what do you do for a living?"

"Me?" he says proudly. "Oh, I'm a property appraiser. Have been my whole life."

I frown. "Are either of you on Medicare?"

Silence: Then Janice, a nice enough woman, it seems, slowly raises her hand, offering a faint smile, as if to say, You got me!

"Let me get this straight," I say to David. "You've been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor, and your wife is on Medicare. How can you complain about the welfare state?"

"Well," he says, "there's a lot of people on welfare who don't deserve it. Too many people are living off the government."

"But," I protest, "you live off the government. And have been your whole life!"

"Yeah," he says, "but I don't make very much."
2013-02-22 08:42:15 PM  
4 votes:
They advertise the hell out of these and hoverounds on over-the-air tv and have for some time. The biggest selling point seems to be the fact the government will pay for it.
2013-02-22 09:51:38 PM  
3 votes:
PSA:  products that treat actual medical conditions and require a doctor's prescription don't need to advertise on TV - your doctor will prescribe it if you need it.
2013-02-22 09:43:42 PM  
3 votes:

KrispyKritter: TFA stated people using these machines in airports to cut in line then running off after they get first dibs in line. i doubt they are bringing their own chairs. these sound like public use chairs in the airport for handicapped to use.

this is not a reason to examine the chair manufacturer/seller. this is a scumbag at the airport problem. scumbags who take chairs away from those in need to jump the line should be held by airport security. let them miss their flight, maybe they won't pull such tomfoolery again.

and if Uncle Sam has a problem with too many doctors writing paper for the chairs they should take it up with the doctors. the supplier just sells them.


Two separate stories, one article.
2013-02-22 09:36:54 PM  
3 votes:

TommyymmoT: Nina_Hartley's_Ass: They advertise the hell out of these and hoverounds on over-the-air tv and have for some time. The biggest selling point seems to be the fact the government will pay for it.

I wonder how many people got them just to sell?
There are over 1000 of them for sale on Ebay at any given time.


I work for a company that provides power wheelchairs and have literally never seen that. Usually the person that received it will die and a relative will try to sell it. Medicare has a mandatory 13 month rental period now so if the patient becomes ineligible they can not keep the chair.
I am glad the scooter store is going down. They are well known fraudsters.
2013-02-22 10:42:52 PM  
2 votes:
Imagine that. A company which advertises that it commits medicare fraud and violates the anti-kickback regulations in it's commercials gets raided by the FBI for committing medicare fraud and violating the anti-kickback regulations.
2013-02-22 10:22:50 PM  
2 votes:

liltingbanshee: For no apparent reason, I've gotten lots of spam from them (or one of their "affiliates"). So I figured they were shady.


This.  Every time I check my spam filter, there are always a few ads from the Scooter Store saying they can get me a free scooter if I have medicare.  It's right there with ads for Viagra, 419 scam letters, pitches for questionable diet drugs, and ads for Christianminge.com.

I have a little policy, if I get spam from any company, I presume them to be a scam.
2013-02-22 10:04:30 PM  
2 votes:
It's about farking time. That place always struck me as crooked. When someone advertises 'Well get Medicare to pay for your scooter or we'll give it to you for free!' something isn't right. At least these people got something for them, unlike in Miami where the products don't even exist.

Next order of business needs to be all of the 'SSI Lawyers'. My wife is a nurse, and she tells me the stories of how an entire family will come in with identical symptoms of how they're hearing voices and seeing things. You would think half of Florida was haunted to hear these idiots talk about it. So if it doesn't work? Just work on your act and find another doctor! Didn't fool him either? Well, just keep on going.

Remember you only need 3 refusals before you can hire your SSI Lawyer! No money, no problem, they work on contingency!
2013-02-22 08:52:35 PM  
2 votes:
Hope this guy is next:

1.bp.blogspot.com
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-02-22 04:45:51 PM  
2 votes:

zulius: I always figured that place was shady...


Well, it's a company that makes it's money by billing Medicare that's owned by a right wing Republican?  What about that makes "shady" come to mind?
2013-02-22 04:07:08 PM  
2 votes:
I always figured that place was shady...
2013-02-23 12:40:15 PM  
1 votes:

BarkingUnicorn: Silverstaff: BarkingUnicorn: I'd like to know how they "bulldoze" doctors into prescribing scooters.

I've got an old college classmate who's a medical student now.  He tells me that apparently it's a well-known pattern of harassment in the medical community, even to the point of getting people to ambush docs in parking lots with papers and trying to pressure them into signing prescriptions.  They'll call and clog up phone lines at offices with sales pitches, basically stalk physicians and pester them into signing prescriptions for their product.

They basically use the most weaselly of hard-sell cold-call tactics on doctors to try to pressure them to approve dubious prescriptions for medical devices that the doctors didn't think the patients needed.  Y'know kinda sounds illegal.  The FBI seemed to think so.

I was afraid of that.  Thanks.


I don't think that's the common way the scam works. I believe the more common sequence of events is this:

1. A Durable medical equipment provider does a "free consult" for some unsuspecting old person.
2. Convinces the sucker they need all this crap
3. Says don't worry about the cost, we'll make sure your doctor submits all the paperwork/gives the sucker the crap. However there is probably a disclaimer they sign claiming they will be on the hook if for some reason the DME isn't reimbursed.
4. The DME tells the doctor to sign all of the paperwork otherwise the patient will be on the hook for thousands of dollars (many doctors will do this as they don't want their patient on the hook for thousands of dollars).


As for CPAPs they mostly aren't a scam, but the markup by the DME's is ridiculous. My insurance did a rent-to-own model (which is what medicare does) and I believe I came close to paying enough in co-pays that I could have just bought the model outright through an internet dealer. In the end I believe the markup was close to 3X the cost of the CPAP. Of course the DME will claim this markup is for the monitoring "service" and support, however that is dubious at best. When I decided I wanted an upgrade (my old CPAP works fine, but I wanted one on which I could access all of the machines data to make sure the therapy was going well) I bought a gently used s9 autoset w/humidifier/heated hose/etc. through craigslist as it was going to be about the same cost out of pocket as going through my insurance and I figured I might as well save my insurance the money.

But yeah the two things keeping me out of adult medicine are having to deal with BS like this and having to filter out chronic pain/people who just want disability/people who want drugs. Luckily, most of that doesn't exist in Pedsland (though you do get the occasional "crazy" parent)
2013-02-23 12:21:17 PM  
1 votes:

Stone Meadow: Evil Twin Skippy: Well if you farks would retire, some of us would have jobs.

Just to fark with you I recently decided to work to age 70. That way I both withhold my job from you for the next ten years as well as maximize the amount of Social Security benefits you have to pay me after that.

/good times!


LULZ, well played. By the way, how is your heart?

BOOOOO!
2013-02-23 12:18:18 PM  
1 votes:

Evil Twin Skippy: Well if you farks would retire, some of us would have jobs.


Just to fark with you I recently decided to work to age 70. That way I both withhold my job from you for the next ten years as well as maximize the amount of Social Security benefits you have to pay me after that.

/good times!
2013-02-23 08:35:55 AM  
1 votes:

Silverstaff: BarkingUnicorn: I'd like to know how they "bulldoze" doctors into prescribing scooters.

I've got an old college classmate who's a medical student now.  He tells me that apparently it's a well-known pattern of harassment in the medical community, even to the point of getting people to ambush docs in parking lots with papers and trying to pressure them into signing prescriptions.  They'll call and clog up phone lines at offices with sales pitches, basically stalk physicians and pester them into signing prescriptions for their product.

They basically use the most weaselly of hard-sell cold-call tactics on doctors to try to pressure them to approve dubious prescriptions for medical devices that the doctors didn't think the patients needed.  Y'know kinda sounds illegal.  The FBI seemed to think so.


I don't know anyone who's been ambushed in a parking lot by one of these outfits, but I will frequently get forms mailed to me by medical equipment companies to sign, which are retroactive orders for scooters, hospital beds, CPAP machines, and other stuff I never ordered.

They will explain that Mr/Mrs. [insert patient name here] received their equipment but somehow the Medicare paperwork was not processed properly so if you would be so kind as to sign and return these forms we can make sure that Mr/Mrs [insert patient name here] can keep the equipment that makes such a big improvement in their quality of life and if you don't promptly return the signed form the equipment will either have to be returned or the patient will be billed $3000 and we will be forced to tell them that it is because you didn't do your part of the paperwork.

It's quite clever, because it's very tempting to just sign and be done with it.  "Hmm.  I don't remember ordering that stuff.  But the patient has it now anyway.  And I don't want to be responsible for causing my patient distress or financial hardship just because I stubbornly refused to sign some piece of paper.  Maybe I *did* order it, and just forgot. What the heck.  It doesn't cost *me* anything anyway."

I never sign, because I am a hand specialist, and would never order wheelchairs, hospital beds, or any of that crap.

And yes, I've tried to report them to CMS.  But I have been told by a CMS agent that since I never signed the allegedly fraudulent orders, no fraud occurred, and there is nothing they can do.  I could sign the order and report the outfit, but then I'd be knowingly complicit in Medicare fraud.  *facepalm*  I hope they were just telling me that so that I'd shut up and not interfere with an ongoing investigation, but I doubt it...
2013-02-23 06:00:13 AM  
1 votes:

sethen320: semiotix: sethen320: I've noticed a lot of talk about CPAP machines which fall into the DME category.  I find it strange that suddenly EVERYONE is unable to breathe at night and falling over dead.

Well... I'm not saying they're not overprescribed (no idea) but there's no intrinsic motivator for the patient to be complicit in CPAP fraud. To judge from my Dad's experience with them, they're basically annoyances that you put up with so that your sleep apnea doesn't cause you to wake up dead. He had to be hounded into it by my mom and his doctor working in concert, and he still grumbles about having to use it.

Whereas with scooters, well, beats walking, right? So the patient has a little bit of motivation to nod and wink his way through the exam. Which makes it a pretty solid scam--it's not like the patients are complaining!--at least until you piss off the bean-counters once too often.

Yeah, I see what you mean. I guess I'm always suspicious of the latest ailment to make the rounds.


I've had sleep apnea since I was 17 years old.  I'm 44 now.  I got my CPAP two years ago.  It was the best thing I've ever gotten.  It wasn't weight related when I weighed 140 pounds, and it's not weight related now that I weigh 180 pounds.  I'm not fat, I have a shiatty small throat and a big tongue.  It's genetics.

Anyone who suggests you're getting a CPAP for fun is full of shiat.  You have to do at least one sleep study to get diagnosed, and then a follow up to make sure the machine is working as expected.  Newer machines wirelessly report usage if you have wireless networking at home.  Otherwise, you bring your CPAP in to your doctor after the first month so they can make sure you used it at least 4 hours a night for 8 out of the last 30 days.

I wanted surgery to fix the apnea, since it runs in my family.  I have three brothers, my dad, and my grandfather who were all diagnosed.  To surgically fix it, they cut off the back of your tongue, laser out the roof of your mouth, and then cut the base of your tongue off, pull it through a hole they drill through your lower jaw, and then let it set for three months.  All told, it's about eight months of not being able to speak, and the results will last about ten years on average.  They offered it as an option, but I don't have eight months to take off work.  So CPAP it was.

No insurance-approved CPAP lacks a data recorder.  There are cheap Chinese models sold for camping and whatnot, but they are not covered by any insurance, you have to pay cash.

The racket is in supplies, since a CPAP is a lifetime solution without surgery.  You are literally sleeping every night with a consumer-approved respirator with a machine, a hose, and a mask.  Most CPAP machines also have a humidifier so you don't wake up every morning with a bloody nose.  According to Medicare rules, you can get a new hose every three months, a new mask every three to six months, and a new tank for the humidifier every 6 months.  So any medical supply company that can identify you will call every three months to try and make a guaranteed sale.  It happens to me all the time.

For the first year I took everything a medical supply company offered, but once I realized I couldn't use it all, I set my own schedule.  I replace the mask once a year, the tank once a year, and the hose every three months.  I can clean the tank myself, I don't need to stockpile extras.  When I asked if the supply company could just replace the nasal unit of the mask (the part that contacts your face) - they said they couldn't, so I ordered replacements on my own.

And after going through two sleep studies - you can't fake sleep apnea.  Either you pay off the guy or you have a sleeping disorder.  And trust me, anyone who has been diagnosed with sleep apnea and gets relief will scream from the goddamn rafters about one good night's sleep.
2013-02-23 01:37:00 AM  
1 votes:

semiotix: sethen320: I've noticed a lot of talk about CPAP machines which fall into the DME category.  I find it strange that suddenly EVERYONE is unable to breathe at night and falling over dead.

Well... I'm not saying they're not overprescribed (no idea) but there's no intrinsic motivator for the patient to be complicit in CPAP fraud. To judge from my Dad's experience with them, they're basically annoyances that you put up with so that your sleep apnea doesn't cause you to wake up dead. He had to be hounded into it by my mom and his doctor working in concert, and he still grumbles about having to use it.

Whereas with scooters, well, beats walking, right? So the patient has a little bit of motivation to nod and wink his way through the exam. Which makes it a pretty solid scam--it's not like the patients are complaining!--at least until you piss off the bean-counters once too often.


it's not really that you'll "wake up dead" from CPAP.  Generally speaking, unless you just took some narcotics, or you're dead drunk, the adrenaline discharge from high carbon dioxide after a long apneic episode wakes you up.  You wake up gasping for air and sometimes scared shiatless, you ventilate yourself down to a better CO2 level, you go back to sleep, and you do it all over again.

The health problems from CPAP are thus primarily being tired and pathologically somnolent all day despite long hours of sleep in bed.

The way CPAP kills you is much more long term, and not really related to stopping breathing.  As your obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) gets worse and worse, your body becomes accustomed to much higher levels of CO2.  Your pulmonary vasculature spends a lot of time very constricted, so the right side of your heart has to work harder than usual.  Over the long term, this causes something called pulmonary hypertension and in bad cases, cor pulmonale, which can kill you.  This is on top of the hypertension that it can also cause.  Other problems basically stem from intolerance to any medication that could make you sleepy, so if you have to have surgery where they'll give you narcotics for pain, you'll have to bring your CPAP with you, otherwise you WILL wake up dead.  Actually, you'll wake up with a breathing tube down your throat and a well-meaning nurse pounding on your chest and breaking your ribs as you're coded for respiratory failure, if you're lucky.  Dead if you're not.

And yeah, CPAP is annoying.  Nobody wants to fake their way into one of those unless they're thinking of turning it around and reselling it.  Don't see too many black market CPAP machines though, so my guess is that the rapid uptick in CPAP use is due to a rapidly fatt-assing population, and increase awareness by physicians to order sleep studies and prescribe CPAP to those that need them.

/anesthesiology resident, so getting a kick out of your replies, etc, etc, etc.
2013-02-23 12:49:41 AM  
1 votes:
"It happens regularly, airport officials say. A traveler requests a wheelchair, gets pushed to the front of the security line and screened - and then jumps up out of the chair and rushes off into the terminal.

People who pull shiat like that should be beaten until they actually need the wheelchair.


Krieghund: trippdogg: PSA:  products that treat actual medical conditions and require a doctor's prescription don't need to advertise on TV - your doctor will prescribe it if you need it.

But they do anyway.

[www.accessrx.com image 350x273]


If you watch the evening network news you'd think that their audience didn't need anything BUT prescription meds for various things. That and mattresses.
2013-02-23 12:32:54 AM  
1 votes:

ZeroCorpse: When I finally lose the ability to walk, I won't mess with a mobility scooter. I will have a palanquin, carried by scantily-clad, healthy women.

Or a miniature stagecoach pulled by Shetland ponies.


Go for the stagecoach.  The women need to be inside your vehicle.
2013-02-23 12:03:07 AM  
1 votes:
I work for a company in the DME (durable medical equipment) industry. Wheelchairs fall into this category, along with oxygen tanks, and scooters, and basically any kind of medical equipment you would find in somebody's home.

It's shady as hell. Essentially, the entire industry is built around defrauding Medicare at every opportunity. Thankfully, Congress has figured this out and is stomping on them in the last few years (stomping a little too hard, probably, but they deserve it). I think something like 10 thousand "DME providers" have simply disappeared in the last 5 years to avoid prosecution.
2013-02-22 11:59:53 PM  
1 votes:
Good. They've been a drain on medicare/aid for some time now. And most of the fatties that get one are better off walking to get rid of that excess baggage.
2013-02-22 11:52:07 PM  
1 votes:
1. Defraud government of $800+ million
2. Hide $20 million away
3. Go to minimum security prison for 16 months
4. Move to a non-extradition country with your $20 million

Ain't that how it's done?
2013-02-22 10:41:45 PM  
1 votes:

BarkingUnicorn: I'd like to know how they "bulldoze" doctors into prescribing scooters.


I've got an old college classmate who's a medical student now.  He tells me that apparently it's a well-known pattern of harassment in the medical community, even to the point of getting people to ambush docs in parking lots with papers and trying to pressure them into signing prescriptions.  They'll call and clog up phone lines at offices with sales pitches, basically stalk physicians and pester them into signing prescriptions for their product.

They basically use the most weaselly of hard-sell cold-call tactics on doctors to try to pressure them to approve dubious prescriptions for medical devices that the doctors didn't think the patients needed.  Y'know kinda sounds illegal.  The FBI seemed to think so.
2013-02-22 10:27:31 PM  
1 votes:
I've always said their commercials should say "and we'll double-bill ... I mean, bill ... Medicare directly."
2013-02-22 09:59:41 PM  
1 votes:
My SiL just got her Scooter in December, so I'm getting kicks...

/she needs it...she's in advanced MS
//she's a fox, too
///did I mention she's hawt?
2013-02-22 09:50:36 PM  
1 votes:
www.silverscreentest.com
2013-02-22 09:45:52 PM  
1 votes:
hmmmmn,.... what to post....?
"no new fix old?"
"keep govment out of our medicare?"
that handy long-armed reachy-grabby thing so people in wheelchairs can grab the peanut butter off of the top shelf?
Wilford Brimley Diabeetus?
"Hooveraround taaaakes meee where I waaanaa go?"

Screw it, I'll just go with the obvious paraphrasing of Daniel Tosh "does anyone else ever daydream abour being on the price is right?"

I'm gonna pass on the redneck starter package.
2013-02-22 09:42:54 PM  
1 votes:
For no apparent reason, I've gotten lots of spam from them (or one of their "affiliates"). So I figured they were shady.
2013-02-22 09:41:05 PM  
1 votes:
Subby is going straight to hell at no more than 6 MPH
2013-02-22 09:40:14 PM  
1 votes:
TFA stated people using these machines in airports to cut in line then running off after they get first dibs in line. i doubt they are bringing their own chairs. these sound like public use chairs in the airport for handicapped to use.

this is not a reason to examine the chair manufacturer/seller. this is a scumbag at the airport problem. scumbags who take chairs away from those in need to jump the line should be held by airport security. let them miss their flight, maybe they won't pull such tomfoolery again.

and if Uncle Sam has a problem with too many doctors writing paper for the chairs they should take it up with the doctors. the supplier just sells them.
2013-02-22 09:39:31 PM  
1 votes:

propasaurus: The Scooter Store is owned by Sun Capital, the investment firm owned by Marc Leder, the guy who hosted the fundraiser where Mitt Romney made his "47%" comment.


And, yet, predictably, despite this being broken up by Obama-era FBI and far from the first instance of Medicare fraud conducted by Republican movers-and-shakers, both my right-wing family members on Facebook are on a rampage about how this proves liberal corruption.
2013-02-22 09:36:45 PM  
1 votes:
i.imgur.com
2013-02-22 09:24:22 PM  
1 votes:
Republicans, eh?

www.evrider.com
2013-02-22 09:14:58 PM  
1 votes:

Nina_Hartley's_Ass: They advertise the hell out of these and hoverounds on over-the-air tv and have for some time. The biggest selling point seems to be the fact the government will pay for it.


I wonder how many people got them just to sell?
There are over 1000 of them for sale on Ebay at any given time.
2013-02-22 08:45:30 PM  
1 votes:
cache.gawker.com


Now my Hoveround business will completely dominate the scooter market for the obese and elderly, mwahahaha!
2013-02-22 08:11:33 PM  
1 votes:
You mean the Tea Party's HQ was raided?
2013-02-22 04:39:38 PM  
1 votes:

propasaurus: dj_bigbird: propasaurus: The Scooter Store is owned by Sun Capital, the investment firm owned by Marc Leder, the guy who hosted the fundraiser where Mitt Romney made his "47%" comment.

That'll teach them to oppose The Anointed One

What's this got to do with Palin?


Well, most of The Scooter Store's customers are tired of walking long distances, which is why they buy scooters. As for Palin...

...don't you think she looks tired?
2013-02-22 04:28:55 PM  
1 votes:

dj_bigbird: propasaurus: The Scooter Store is owned by Sun Capital, the investment firm owned by Marc Leder, the guy who hosted the fundraiser where Mitt Romney made his "47%" comment.

That'll teach them to oppose The Anointed One


What's this got to do with Palin?
2013-02-22 04:09:34 PM  
1 votes:
bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com
 
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