The SCOOTER Store CEO Denounces Latest Medicare Quality Standards Report

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Leading provider of mobility scooters continues to request revisions for rigorous and meaningful quality standards for DME suppliers

We fear that the standards released by CMS won’t eliminate unscrupulous suppliers from the Medicare program, and therefore will do little to improve credibility and service within the industry

In a statement issued by CEO Doug Harrison, The SCOOTER Store announced its disappointment that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) quality standards issued on Monday, August 14, 2006, lacked the specificity and detail needed to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries receive quality equipment and service from suppliers of Durable Medical Equipment (DME). The comprehensive standards proposed last year would have guaranteed quality service to Medicare beneficiaries while enabling CMS to limit fraud and abuse.

“We fear that the standards released by CMS won’t eliminate unscrupulous suppliers from the Medicare program, and therefore will do little to improve credibility and service within the industry,” says Harrison. “This is a grave error by CMS, one that we hope is rectified in future steps aimed at implementing a real quality standards program. The SCOOTER Store echoes the concerns rose by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care, Inc. (ACHC) calling the newly released quality standards a form of mediocrity and will do nothing to help professionalize the industry. This must also be a disappointment to the US Congress, which has consistently asked CMS to establish processes and controls that deter fraud and abuse while guaranteeing that qualified Medicare beneficiaries receive the power mobility equipment that is most appropriate to each of them.

“Hopefully lawmakers and the accrediting bodies will press CMS to explain why they have implemented a weaker set of standards than those proposed a year ago. For instance, the earlier standards required suppliers to formally submit a Compliance Plan with specific policies and procedures. There is no such requirement in the new standards. Moreover, under the earlier standards, a supplier was required to be a legitimate business - open at least 40 hours a week and available 24/7 to beneficiaries in cases of emergencies. The new standards only require a supplier to post their business hours - without setting any minimum hours. Furthermore, the new standards don’t even mention the requirement for accreditation.

“At The SCOOTER Store, we strive to ensure that our standards are the highest within our respective industry. The SCOOTER Store management and all of our employees take seriously our responsibility to provide qualified beneficiaries with the most appropriate mobility equipment. As the nation’s largest supplier of power mobility equipment, The SCOOTER Store is leading the effort to raise standards throughout the industry, and we quickly adopted the tougher standards proposed last year. Our company is fully accredited by ACHC. Like Congress, we believe it is imperative for all suppliers to adhere to a code of conduct and standards ensuring that Medicare beneficiaries get the best service available. Therefore, we are recommending that all legitimate suppliers join us, and abide by the originally proposed quality standards and also get accredited.”

Meanwhile, The SCOOTER Store will continue to ask CMS to establish rigorous and meaningful quality standards for DME suppliers.

About The SCOOTER Store

Since 1991, The SCOOTER Store has helped provide freedom and independence to more than 250,000 people with limited mobility. The SCOOTER Store offers a full line of durable medical equipment, including power wheelchairs and electric scooters, lifts, ramps and accessories through 126 locations covering 47 states. The SCOOTER Store has worked with more than 100,000 physicians, providing expertise and quality service to their patients, and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care. For more information, visit The SCOOTER Store website at http://www.thescooterstore.com.

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Mark Leita
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