The Scooter Store, the nation’s largest supplier of mobility vehicles is suspected of de-frauding 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 with constant phone calls and surgery visits in order to wear them down to prescribe the vehicles.
They discovered the firm has a specialized department which devotes its energies to getting the vehicles for patients who had already been ruled ineligible by Medicare.
Timothy Menke with the Office of the Inspector General says the investigation involves his agency, plus the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Texas attorney general’s Medicaid fraud unit. An FBI spokesman declined comment.
The 1,200 employees of the company were escorted out of the building on Wednesday and were kept outside while investigators combed the building.
In an email to employees sent Thursday morning, CEO Martin Marty Landon called Wednesday a ‘confusing and troubling day for many of us.’
‘I know this is a difficult time but our best remedy, I believe, is to continue to cooperate fully in this investigation and to serve our customers with a high level of quality, integrity and service,’ Landon wrote to employees.
Employees were instructed to tell customers that the company is in full compliance with all federal rules and regulations.
Last year, it was discovered that The Scooter Store received anywhere from $46.8 million to $87.7 million in Medicare over-payments from 2009 to 2011.
The company determined the over-payments were only $19.5 million. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) agreed to accept that amount in repayment. The Scooter Store was given five years to pay it back.
In December, two U.S. senators in a letter to CMS asked why the agency accepted an amount ‘significantly less’ than it was overpaid.
The Scooter Store earlier this month cut 150 jobs and blamed pending government changes in claims processing and reimbursement. The company in September laid off about 220 workers, citing a drop in Medicare reimbursements.
Source: The Daily Mail