I would venture to say that the vast majority of people – at least the ones I have come into contact with – involved in health care and it’s peripheral offshoots are honest, well-intentioned people. But every now and then, stories like this come up, and all I can do is shake my head. I know, it takes all kinds to make the world go around, and this is certainly not the most horrible, earth-shaking news. Not, by any means, a sign of the apocalypse. But discouraging nonetheless. Maybe I am just naive, but I prefer to believe in the better angels of our nature.
Two stories really. The Scooter Store presents itself as a sort of mom-and-pop service, just here to help (which perhaps in my cynical mind should have been a red flag), but which, according to a story in the San Antonio Express-News, turns out to be a scam and a fraud. No doubt some, or maybe most, of their clients really need their services. But it seems they are leaning hard on prescribers to order wheelchairs and scooters for patients who don’t really need them. Another reason our health care system is so screwed up, with people like these defrauding and gaming the insurance system for a buck. This sort of thing is, fortunately, balanced at least somewhat by people like the good folks at Whirlwind Wheelchair International, who are truly committed to bringing affordable, high quality mobility to everyone.
The other part of this story, from The Wall Street Journal, is something I have mentioned here before, and is perhaps even more despicable. It is pure selfishness and abuse of an accommodation that allows handicapped people equal access to the greater world. I can’t believe people actually do this – pretend they are disabled so as to scam a wheelchair at the airport just to hurry their way through the check in process. There should be a fine for this, similar to able-bodied drivers parking in handicapped parking spaces. It comes down to the fact that people are going to start looking askance at me and others legitimately in need of this accommodation, wondering if we are cheaters too. I would encourage the TSA to crack down on this. I’d be happy to show my handicapped credentials.