Regardless of what they think about the guilt or innocence of The SCOOTER Store, DMEs are still reeling this week after the company announced it would settle with the Justice Department on charges it had sought to defraud Medicare. The news couldn’t have come at a worse time as providers are trying to build support in Congress for legislation that would soften the effects of CMS’s attempts to rein in equipment reimbursements and stem fraudulent claims.
News of the SCOOTER Store’s alleged efforts to get Medicare to pay fraudulent claims made it much more difficult for DMEs’ Capitol Hill advocates to explain how CMS’s reform efforts will hurt small, independent providers.
In return for Justice dropping criminal charges, The SCOOTER Store will pay $4 million and give up many millions more in pending claims for Medicare reimbursement to Medicare. The SCOOTER Store’s founder, Douglas Trent Harrison, also agreed to personally pay $500,000 and forego dividends from his shares in the company for the next year.
The Scooter Store denies any wrongdoing.
While some providers lamented the adverse economic impact of the government’s actions against The SCOOTER Store, others found it difficult to let the San Antonio-based company off the hook.
To read details about The SCOOTER Store settlement, see http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2007/May/07_civ_344.html.