Medicare: CMS Did Not Control Rising Power Wheelchair Spending

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Medicare spending for power wheelchairs, one of the program's most expensive items of durable medical equipment (DME), rose 450 percent from 1999 through 2003, while overall Medicare spending rose by about 11 percent for the same period, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This spending growth has raised concerns that Medicare made improper payments and has payment rates that are out of line with market prices. In May 2003, the Department of Justice indicted power wheelchair suppliers in Texas alleged to have fraudulently billed ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. April 28, 2004.

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Description

Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Medicare spending for power wheelchairs, one of the program's most expensive items of durable medical equipment (DME), rose 450 percent from 1999 through 2003, while overall Medicare spending rose by about 11 percent for the same period, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This spending growth has raised concerns that Medicare made improper payments and has payment rates that are out of line with market prices. In May 2003, the Department of Justice indicted power wheelchair suppliers in Texas alleged to have fraudulently billed Medicare. The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) contains provisions regarding DME, such as changing payment setting methods. GAO was asked to examine (1) steps taken by CMS and its contractors to identify and respond to improper payments for power wheelchairs and (2) how MMA will affect CMS's ability to set payment rates for DME. To examine these issues, GAO analyzed claims data reports for CMS's four DME regions, reviewed applicable legislation, regulations, and CMS and contractor documents, and interviewed CMS and contractor officials, DME suppliers and manufacturers, DME industry representatives, and beneficiary advocacy groups. GAO focused attention on region C, which includes Texas."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • April 28, 2004

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Medicare: CMS Did Not Control Rising Power Wheelchair Spending, text, April 28, 2004; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc291579/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.