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Seniors Targeted in Medicare Scheme

Steve Wagner

Seniors across the country are being duped into Medicare-related scams through medical providers and manufacturing companies. One Indiana woman has voiced her concern and complaints, fearing that these scams may be costing the country untold amounts in insurance fraud, as well as hassle and inconvenience for doctors and senior citizens.

What’s Happening?
Many seniors are receiving calls from medical providers and manufacturers, asking whether or not they need certain products. In this case, 84-year-old Myrtle Harper, Parke County resident says she gets daily calls from companies asking her about her need for a knee brace, as well as an electrotherapy machine. The problem with this is that Myrtle is in excellent health and walks freely, without the need for any assistance or medical apparatus. Myrtle says she continues to communicate this to the companies that call her, but they are persistent, even to the point of placing orders for her doctor to sign off on.

Myrtle’s doctor, Dr. Dan Dwyer, says he has a stack of papers on his desk to sort through that are all requests from medical companies for him to order products for patients. The problem is that most of them are unnecessary. However, the amount of products that do get ordered this way is rising. One problem is that eventually, seniors will wear down, or they become unable to make legitimate decisions regarding their health. Many times, seniors will agree to their need for something because they think it is their doctor calling to tell them of their need.

These scams are costing senior citizens and Medicare huge sums of money, and countless products are being sold under the guise of approval by doctors and patients, even though the need for many of these items doesn’t exist, and the problem could largely be avoided with clearer communication.

A Practice to Trick
Not only is this practice misleading seniors and wasting money and valuable resources, it is also clogging up the desks and calendars of physicians across the country. The orders for these products are coming from Medicare-approved suppliers, often referred to as durable medical equipment, or DME providers, and sorting through legitimate requests vs. scams is time consuming and difficult.

So how do you protect your loved ones from a health care scam like these?

  • The first thing you need to do is have a talk with your loved one about phone calls they may have received, and ask them if they are receiving calls and questions about products they are not interested in. Help make them aware that they do not have to consent to anything they have not already discussed with their doctor, and that they can call you if they are confused or have questions.
  • Talk directly to their doctor to clear up any miscommunications or concerns about health issues your loved ones may be having. Staying on the same page with their doctor can help eliminate the risk of your loved one being the target of a scheme.
  • Speak with other care providers, whether at a nursing home or assisted living facility, to make sure they are aware of the calls and can help monitor their frequency, as well as communicate with your loved ones.
  • If your loved one has a cell phone, program in the numbers they need and use the most, and make them aware that they do not have to answer any numbers they don’t recognize.

If your loved one is being taken advantage of by the medical system, or has been involved in a health care or Medicare scheme such as this, give the Indiana medical malpractice attorneys of Wagner Reese a call and let us help set things straight for you and your family. You can reach us at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a risk-free consultation.

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