Chuck wouldn't be mobile if it hadn't been for Esta Willman. She owns Medi-Source Equipment and Supply. Two years ago she put Chuck in his current wheelchair at the risk she wouldn't see a dime on a $4,500 Medicare claim. That's because Chuck wore out his previous chair too fast. "When we contacted Medicare we learned he had been provided the power chair 3 years before. Medicare has a rule that equipment should be expected to last 5 years. It hadn't been five years." Said Willman.
And if it wasn't bad enough the claim got denied, once Willman filed an appeal, things took a turn for the worse. "Not only that, that the patient that the claim, the case was being referred to the Medicare Program Safeguard contractor for an investigation of patient culpable neglect." Said Willman. In other words, Medicare wanted to see if Chuck mis-used and abused his equipment. Granted he put a strain on it, but it was all about remaining independent. "He's using his chair 24 hours a day. Inside, outside, everywhere, because he has no legs to move him anywhere any other way." Said Willman.
Willman says after repeatedly contacting Medicare she has yet the hear back on the status of the investigation. In the meantime , she's not worried about recouping her money at this point. Chuck has become almost family. "We can't turn our back on him. He's not a charity case, but he's a human being. We live here so we do what we can. Sorry getting all choked up." Said Willman. Chuck added. "She's a sweetheart, a good woman and smart as hell."
News Channel 3 contacted Medicare about this case. We were told Chuck Robinson's claim was denied because the original chair it paid for was so severely damaged it was beyond repair. The good news, Medicare says Chuck Robinson is entitled to a new chair in June.
The story can be found at: http://www.kesq.com/news/23298202/detail.html