The federal government has instituted a two-year pilot program, in Florida and California, targeting medical equipment suppliers in to root out those who defraud Medicare, by requiring them to reapply to the program. As the result of this program, sellers of durable medical equipment such as providers of artificial limbs, braces, splints and wheelchairs need to reapply and expect spot visits to make sure that the companies exist and are able to provide the equipment.
Leslie Norwalk, Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stated, “The point is to keep fraud providers out of the program before they can rip us off. With re-enrollment and multiple surprise visits, we think we can stop the fraud.”
It is hoped that the success of the program will lead to its expansion to other parts of the country. In January 2006 alone, spot visits to 480 suppliers in South Florida, resulting in 191 firms having their billing rights revoked.