The SCOOTER Store is once again a target of the Department of Health and Human Services’ crackdown on the durable medical equipment industry, as federal authorities raided the company’s headquarters last week on supicion of fraud. Investigators have not provided details on the raid, which involved dozens of law enforcement officials and investigators.
This isn’t the first time the New Braunfels, Texas, company has butted heads with the Department of Justice (DOJ). In 2007, the DOJ investigated the power chair provider for allegedly using bait-and-switch tactics to charge Medicare for expensive power wheelchairs, while delivering a far cheaper scooter to the beneficiaries instead. The $13 million suit was eventually settled for a payment of $4 million.
Just one month ago, federal authorities ordered the company to pay $19.5 million to Medicare, a fraction of an alleged $87 million in overpayments between 2009 and 2011. In addition, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) claims the company hasn’t yet paid the $4 million to settle the 2007 dispute.
The OIG has issued several reports concerning the waste within the durable medical equipment industry. Medicare often is charged more than four times the actual cost of power chairs, and 80 percent of the wheelchair claims submitted to Medicare don’t meet the requirements for reimbursement.
The SCOOTER Store, one of the country’s largest suppliers of power wheelchairs, scooters and lifts, operates in 48 states, according to a corporate statement. The company opened a division for complex rehabilitation (Alliance Seating & Mobility) in 2007, and a division for home care equipment in 2010.