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SCOOTER Store CEO Outraged: Flawed Data Used by Fox News Channel to Wrongly Chastise Medical Suppliers

CEO Harrison Calls for Reform that Eliminates Wasteful Government Procedures

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Doug Harrison, CEO and Founder of The SCOOTER Store, is outraged that misleading data from a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General's report was recently cited during a Fox News Channel segment on the costs of providing medical equipment to Medicare beneficiaries.

In a report that aired on Monday, Fox News Channel reporter William La Jeunesse stated that Medicare "overpays" for medical equipment, saying auditors determined the average cost paid for a standard power wheelchair is $4,018, while the private sector pays $1,048.

"I am extremely upset that a major broadcast network did not check their facts," said Mr. Harrison, who heads the nation's largest supplier of power mobility equipment. "The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) actually acknowledged that their report failed to include many of the costs associated with doing business with Medicare." Furthermore, Mr. Harrison noted that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversee the Medicare program, had advised the OIG to complete their report by analyzing all the costs associated with providing mobility equipment to Medicare beneficiaries.

Mr. Harrison said the OIG and Fox News Channel are badly mistaken if they believe a Medicare beneficiary can order a power wheelchair from the Internet, have it drop-shipped to their door and suddenly all their mobility needs will be met.

"It is naive for anyone to think that is, or can be, what happens," Mr. Harrison said. "Medicare beneficiaries qualify for power mobility when they are physically disabled. Medical equipment providers' cost structures include thousands of dollars per claim related to regulations that require working with doctors to document medical necessity for the patients, selecting the right product and customizing for the beneficiary, making the delivery, doing extensive government paperwork for the convoluted claims and reimbursement process, maintaining the proper accreditations and adhering to state and federal requirements."

The industry, Mr. Harrison said, has offered and stands ready to work with the government on legitimate ways to cut costs, especially as it relates to the irrational process for documenting reimbursements claims. As an alternative, he said, lawmakers and policymakers could consider reforming the Medicare acquisition process and allow suppliers to file claims separately for the acquisition cost of the equipment and the additional dozens of services, standards and regulations that also must be met on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries.

The OIG report entitled, Power Wheelchairs in the Medicare Program: Supplier Acquisition Costs and Services, concluded that the power mobility industry receives a gross profit margin of approximately 75% when the actual net profit after taxes for much of the industry is now less than five percent because of the costs for all the assorted services and requirements. Moreover, the flawed OIG report is being deployed in ways that assist policymakers determined to retreat from Medicare's commitment to provide power mobility to those who qualify for assistance.

"The industry's biggest concern is that when the OIG and the media don't do adequate research it often leads to lawmakers and policymakers issuing public statements and drawing conclusion from misleading information," Mr. Harrison said. "Ultimately, Medicare beneficiaries are the ones who are harmed because public policy impacting their lives is drawn from tainted data."

    Michael Pfister


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