The U.S. Justice Department announced Wednesday it had reached a $7.5 million settlement with two medical equipment suppliers over allegations that the businesses filed false claims for power wheelchairs and accessories to federal health care programs.
Orbit Medical Inc. and its partial successor Rehab Medical Inc. are durable medical equipment suppliers based in Salt Lake City and Indianapolis.
“Power wheelchair suppliers must bill federal health care programs accurately and honestly to ensure that federal dollars are used for individuals who truly need these mobility devices,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Mizer of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Justice Department is committed to pursuing those who seek to abuse taxpayer-funded programs.”
Medicare will only pay for power wheelchairs for individuals who can't use other forms of equipment, such as a cane, walker or power scooter, to move around their homes and perform daily activities. Physicians must meet with individuals face-to-face, examine the person and provide a power wheelchair prescription within 45 days of the examination.
The doctor is also required to give documentation that shows the power wheelchair is medically necessary. In the complaint against Orbit, representatives were accused of altering prescriptions by physicians in order to get power wheelchairs paid for by Medicare.