Watchdog Report

August 4, 2008

South Florida medical equipment providers

There are nearly 2,100 South Florida businesses licensed by Medicare to sell medical supplies such as wheelchairs, artificial limbs and home oxygen equipment. Miami-Dade County has the most, with 931 active providers, followed by Broward County, 782, and Palm Beach County, 385.

There are nearly 2,100 South Florida businesses licensed by Medicare to sell medical supplies such as wheelchairs, artificial limbs and home oxygen equipment. Miami-Dade County has the most, with 931 active providers, followed by Broward County, 782, and Palm Beach County, 385.

Last year, a critical federal government report found that almost half of Miami-Dade's medical equipment companies didn't have a place of business, weren't open to the public or didn't meet minimal operational standards.

To obtain a Medicare license and remain in business, a durable medical equipment provider must meet 21 federal standards. Among them, a supplier must:

 Maintain a facility and regular business hours.

 Post a visible sign, hours of operation and telephone number.

 Fill patient orders from its own inventory or another approved contractor.

 Have at least $300,000 in liability insurance for the business and customers.

 Notify Medicare of ownership or other changes in the business license.

 Permit Medicare authorities to conduct inspections.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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