Scooter ads face government scrutiny and Medicare Fraud investigations

TV ads for motorized scooters which are driving a $1 billion market in the U.S. for powered wheelchairs for The Scooter Store and Hoveround are now facing scrutiny by Congress. Members of Congress say the ads lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary spending by Medicare which is only supposed to pay for scooters as a medical necessity when seniors are unable to use a cain or walker. Government inspectors say up to 80% of the scooters and power wheelchairs Medicare buys go to people who don’t meet the requirements. Physicians also say that seniors who use scooters unnecessarily can become sedentary which can exacerbate obesity and other disorders. Federal agents raided the Scooter Store headquarters in New Braunfels Texas last month in a Department of Justice Investigation about the company’s practices. Medicare pays for 80 % of the cost which ranges between $1500 and $3500. Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.