By Kurtis Ming

A Penn Valley woman desperately needed a power wheelchair to get around. She had insurance but when she didn’t get her chair after a year and a half, it was time to call Kurtis.

Her insurance company hired a third party company to get her that chair.

So, where is it?

“I can hear it and I can feel it clunk, clunk, clunk and I start sliding,” said Barbara Johnson.

Barbara suffers from fibromyalgia and severe arthritis in her knees.

“It’s been very difficult, I’ve fallen a couple of times, these are not that steady,” said Barbara, referring to her walker.

Forced to use her walker or grab onto the walls, Barbara’s doctor prescribed her a power wheelchair in July of 2011.

Her insurance hired a third party, CareCentrix, to handle the claim.

CareCentrix then enlisted The Scooter Store in Sacramento to provide the chair which she says would be covered 100%, because she already met her deductible for the year.

But Barbara says in ten months, they couldn’t give her a chair that fit.

Instead she says they kept trying to give her one too tall for her 4’10” frame.

“Can you kind of jump into it? If I could jump, I wouldn’t need a wheelchair,” said Barbara.

Eventually CareCentrix let her work with another company, but she didn’t get her chair until January of this year. Now it was no longer 100% covered.

“Happy New Year, Jan. 6th, now you owe $2,000… what?” said Barbara.

Because it was a new year, Barbara had to meet her annual medical insurance deductible all over again.

“I’ve been so upset about it. I feel defeated,” said Barbara.

“From the consumer’s perspective, I’m sure it doesn’t feel right at all, because she’s waiting so long for this chair,” said Nancy Kincaid, California Dept. of Insurance spokesperson.

Kincaid says if insurance companies are giving you the runaround, there’s a way to get their attention.

“Tell them you’re going to the Dept. of Insurance and file a request for assistance. Lots of us say well, I’m going to complain to an authority. That sometimes falls on deaf years,” said Kincaid.

We contacted CareCentrix.

In an email, they tell us:
“We have investigated the prescription requests on our side and found that everything was handled appropriately, but due to the unfortunate circumstances with her first provider (The Scooter Store) which caused a delay in getting her the appropriately fitted power wheelchair…”

“CareCentrix will pay the co-pay and co-insurance portion of the wheelchair…”
— Elizabeth Keough, spokesperson

A couple of weeks later, Barbara finally got her power wheelchair. She’s now able to safely get around.

“That’s the biggest thing, not to be scared I’m going to fall,” said Barbara.

We also reached out to The Scooter Store but never heard back.

The company just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday and has laid off most of its workers.

In February, the FBI raided their headquarters in Texas as part of a Medicare/Medicaid fraud investigation.


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