Scammers Trick Seniors with ‘Free’ Medical Devices, Then Bill Medicare
Nancy DeLozier looked at the array of medical equipment on the floor of her living room and called it junk.
The 84-year-old Northwest Side woman said she received the items in the mail but neither wants nor needs them.
One shipment, from February 2017, included a back brace and knee braces. A second shipment, which arrived this May, held ankle and wrist braces and another designed to support the shoulder, elbow, hand and wrist. They were ordered by out-of-state doctors whom DeLozier had not heard of, communicated with or met.
Medicare, the taxpayer-funded federal health care program for seniors, paid more than $3,800 for the items, which would have sat unused in a shipping box if they hadn’t been discovered by her daughter Cathy Bell.
Anne Fredrickson, who advocates for Medicare recipients in Ohio, said telemarketers call seniors asking about their pain. And if they get an affirmative response, the devices are sent and billed to Medicare.
“It’s one of the biggest scams going on all over the country right now,” said Fredrickson, who manages the Ohio Senior Medicare Patrol program at the Cincinnati-based Pro Seniors. “We get a call about every week from someone that’s being solicited.”
The practice is so prevalent that the program released a video about it in May.
Bell is livid, and has spent hours making countless phone calls to unravel how the devices came to her mother’s door. She has been able to get about $1,200 returned to Medicare.
Bell said she complained to government agencies, called the medical device suppliers listed on her mother’s Medicare claims and talked to one of the prescribing physicians, Dr. Christopher Southwick of Kansas Pain and Wellness in Topeka, Kansas.
Read More at the Source: Scammers trick seniors with ‘free’ medical devices, then bill Medicare
By: JoAnne Viviano
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