TLP: Maybe They Were Gifts
It's totally believable that someone would buy sex toys from an outfit called "Happy Trips." But that really seems like more of a personal purchase and not something that ought to end up being paid for by Medicare. And "Charlie RX"? You're doing it so wrong. No wonder you got busted.
A pair of Hialeah companies fraudulently billed Medicare thousands of dollars for $395 penis pumps, supposedly to help male patients combat impotence, authorities say.See, this is why doctor-patient confidentiality is so important. Does this woman really want us all to know she ended up with four penis pumps? Could be she just picks the wrong guys. But, again, do that sort of shopping online. It's better for the Medicare budget and everyone knows how exciting it is when items show up in the mail.
But women were also among the purported patients at Charlie RX and Happy Trips, which together billed $63,000 for vacuum-erection systems intended only for men.
The federal healthcare program paid the two medical-equipment providers $28,600, according to charges unsealed Monday in federal court in Miami. Among the payments: phony claims for four penis pumps for a single female patient.
``That we should have caught,'' acknowledged Medicare spokesman Peter Ashkenaz, noting that Medicare only covers male vacuum-erection systems deemed ``medically necessary'' by a physician who makes an impotence diagnosis.
Emilio Felipe Lopez, 47, president of Charlie RX, and Orlando Hernandez Estevez, 25, president of Happy Trips, were indicted on charges of healthcare fraud in February. Last week, FBI agents arrested the two Hialeah businessmen, who authorities say were in hiding.
Both defendants are accused of stealing Medicare patients' numbers and doctors' identifications to submit nearly $2 million in bogus bills to the healthcare program for the elderly and disabled between October and February.
Bonus: the bored copy editor who could not resist this story slug in the URL:
www.miamiherald.com/penis-pump-scammers-stiff-medicare.htmlMuch more fun than what ended up in the paper: "Hialeah pair accused of bilking Medicare for penis pumps"