Written by Katie Lynch-Morin for mlive.com and The Saginaw News on April 3, 2013
BRIDGEPORT, MI — Less than two months after its Texas headquarters were raided, The Scooter Store could be closing its doors for good.
Written by Katie Lynch-Morin for mlive.com and The Saginaw News on February 20, 2013
BRIDGEPORT TOWNSHIP, MI — For many years, Bridgeport Township-based Amigo Mobility has been working to crack down on Medicare fraud.
The company's mobility scooters are only partially covered while larger, more expensive models — sometimes costing thousands of dollars more — from places like The Scooter Store are covered in full.
"Consumer Deception, Choice and Medicare," written by Ryan Sullivan, appeared in the December 2012 edition of Great Lakes Bay Business Magazine.
ARE FRAUD AND GOVERNMENT RULES FORCING CONSUMERS INTO EXPENSIVE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT THEY DON’T NEED?
BY RYAN SULLIVAN
If you want to read the laws and rules governing Medicare, the national health insurance program covering almost all adults in the United States older than 65, have your eyes checked. It’s a long read, and you need good eyes to spot a lot of the unintended consequences of the rules.
The popular program, started in 1965, covers nearly 50 million Americans – a number that will balloon with the baby boomers hitting retirement age in droves during the next 20 years. That’s why wringing every bit of savings and efficiency out of the program while maintaining quality care is key to making sure the program stays intact for future seniors and the disabled.
Cracking down on waste, fraud, and abuse within the Medicare system has taken center stage with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Durable medical equipment is an area of particular concern, especially in the wake of numerous schemes, for example, meant to trick beneficiaries into receiving “free” power wheelchairs when a much cheaper and more useful powered scooter would do. Who pays for these free chairs? You do.
Medicare covers Power Operated Vehicles (POVs) like the Amigo, as well as power wheelchairs, when a person lacks the ability to perform normal domestic, vocational, and social activities in their own homes. But power wheelchairs are much more expensive and complex devices that provide additional support for those with poor postural stability – a condition many disabled individuals do not have.
The Office of the Inspector General has been on the trail, finding that up to six out of 10 power wheelchairs are found to be medically unnecessary. Yet current Medicare reimbursement structures make it easier for beneficiaries to purchase a much more expensive power wheelchair – even though it often doesn’t best suit their daily needs and costs taxpayers much more. That drives up health care costs for everyone, while depressing the market for power scooters like those made by Bridgeport-based Amigo Mobility International, Inc.
Amigo Mobility's Jennifer Thieme Kehres was featured on a local news station last night to discuss wasteful Medicare spending in the mobility industry. Earlier this week, FBI agents raided the headquarters of The Scooter Store, a Texas based power wheelchair company. The Scooter Store is being investigated for allegations about false claims submitted to Medicare. The Office of the Inspector General found that The Scooter Store over-billed Medicare by $108 million from 2009-2012.
Jennifer Thieme Kehres of Amigo Mobility was recently featured on Fox Business for an interview with John Stossel about Government Healthcare Gone Wrong.
In the segment that aired December 15, Jean Csaposs demonstrated her Amigo POV/scooter that she has used for 33 years. “I can do amazing things with this scooter,” Csaposs said. “This, for me, is the only thing that I would ever want to have.”
Always on the Go
With Amigo owner Cammy Prince of Okemos, Mich.
With the help of a new Amigo, Cammy Prince is always on the go.
57 Years in 248 Pages
With Amigo owner and author Jack Jensen
For Jack Jensen, squeezing 57 years into 248 pages was no small feat.
Find A Way
With Amigo owner Tim Brown of the Michigan Polio Network
For the past 20 years, Tim Brown has witnessed the growing impact of the Michigan Polio Network (MPN).