From the Desk of Greg Packer

To: Our Valued U.S. Rehab Members

From: Greg A. Packer, president, U.S. Rehab

 If I read one more article about fraud in the home care market I think I may toss the publication across my office!

I am so tired of hearing Marilyn Tavenner, the new head of CMS speak of fraud and how the health care industry is so bad.  Home care providers are not all bad and they are certainly not all criminals.   We do have a few foxes in the hen house, but isn’t that what Medicare’s fraud unit is for? It’s there to protect the fund and taxpayers, right?  

Do we hear the police running up and down the street calling everyone a criminal and arresting everyone who looks suspicious?   Why is it OK for CMS to lump the entire market place in one pool and treat us like second-class citizens?  To turn our patients on us by asking them to report any little item they consider wrong?How in the world would they know anyway? CMS continues to hire more and more people to attack the good and gracious people who to serve patients with personal loyalty and caring about their well-being,while Medicare continues to cut funding and create smoke-and-mirror rules to trip up the smartest DME providers.

One great example is the face-to-face rule that was just extended from July 1 to sometime in the future. Will this be enforced in a year as a fraudulent claim if you do not have the paperwork needed and will the money be taken back on the front end?Then, will you have to fight to get it back or will you give up because it is a walker that cost more than the fight is worth? 

Is it fraud if you don’t fight the process? Is it that CMS knows for the most part, people will not fight?And did the patient get what they needed and did they avoid the accidental fall or worse?   We continue to see the gross misconduct of CMS, which is full of smoke and mirrors and misstatements.  We as an industry continue to reinvent ourselves to increase efficiency, and CMS continues to put up roadblocks due to their inefficacy.  

Why when this all started, did the industry agree to help with accreditation and bonding?  We took on more expense to help the industry become a better place to do business.  And now CMS takes two of the tools the industry gave them, and sets them aside so companies can bid contracts without the qualifications to do so. This is out-of-control government.

The DMEPOS world is not bad and we’re not in it only to make money.  Our providers at U.S. Rehab and VGM are here to help people and make a difference.   They’re the people during the hurricane who carry oxygen up 12 flights of stairs to help a patient stay alive.   It is the team of workers who help clean up the town so their company can continue to deliver the supplies needed for your parents who are stranded at home after the devastation of a tornado.  We at VGM and U.S. Rehab will continue to fight and bring your message to Washington and shout on the mountain tops to make our message heard.   We will not stop this fight anytime soon.  

CMS needs to stop the political smear campaign it’s conducting against DME.  Please take the time to explain your position.  In your own integrity manual, fraud is very well defined. Please take your own advice and stop calling a technicality “fraud.”Like next year, when your auditors start to take back money from our providers because of the deferment of the F2F issue, and you say it is fraud … is it really?

Understand that the majority of those you accuse are good citizens who are trying to follow the complex rules you set and continue to not clarify.