Taxpayers Billed $27 Million for Hoveround Wheelchairs That Weren’t Medically Necessary

Taxpayers were billed $27 million for thousands of power wheelchairs that were not medically necessary for their users.

Hoveround was the subject of an audit released last week by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general, which faulted the company for failing to meet Medicare requirements before it charged the government for its electric wheelchairs.

In 2010, Hoveround provided 13,025 power wheelchairs to Medicare beneficiaries. Eighty-five percent of those who received the wheelchairs did not meet the necessary medical requirements, according to the audit. The findings were based on a sample of 200 individuals who received a power wheelchair from Hoveround.

“Hoveround often did not claim Medicare reimbursement for [power mobility devices] PMDs in accordance with Medicare requirements,” according to the audit. “Hoveround complied with Medicare requirements for 46 of the sampled beneficiaries. However, for the remaining 154 sampled beneficiaries, Hoveround received payments for claims that did not comply with Medicare requirements.”

Further, 171 of the beneficiaries were “determined to not meet medical necessity requirements by a medical necessity review contractor,” or 85.5 percent.