Friday, December 6, 2013
San Antonio Express
What an ending to the Scooter Store.
At one time, the Scooter Store was the largest private employer in New Braunfels, Texas. It had more than 2,400 employees with national distribution.
Its TV advertisements targeted the elderly and infirm, promising mobility and freedom -- all covered by Medicare.
But mired in bankruptcy, the subject of a United States Department of Justice probe likely related to potential Medicare and Medicaid fraud, the Scooter Store is closing.
As the Express-News' Patrick Danner has reported, the Scooter Store is "furloughing" its remaining employees and liquidating its assets.
A recent filing in the company's bankruptcy case states that former Scooter Store executives Michael Clark and Timothy Zipp are targets of the Justice Department investigation.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also sent the company a letter saying it was being cut off from Medicare business, Danner reported.
This move was necessary.
An independent auditor last year found the Scooter Store received between $46.8 million and $87.7 million in Medicare overpayments.
After the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services threatened to cut the Scooter Store out of federal health programs, it agreed to repay $19.5 million -- the amount The Scooter Store believed it received in overpayments.
Still, the OIG found the failure to immediately refund the overpayments breached a 2007 "corporate integrity agreement."
In its ads, The Scooter Store sold the infirm, elderly and vulnerable the possibility of mechanized freedom and mobility. But taxpayers were overcharged.
The Justice Department probe continues, of course. The Scooter Store does not.
-- San Antonio Express, Sept. 17