|Published:||Aug 19, 2013 6:27 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Aug 27, 2013 10:22 AM EDT|
NAPLES, Fla. - Joe Haberkern never expected to be confined to a wheelchair. Shortly after retiring from the Collier County School District, doctors discovered a lesion in his spinal cord.
"I literally cannot move anything from the waist down," said Haberkern.
Then he saw a commercial, one almost everyone has seen, for the Scooter Store.
"I thought why not it's only a phone call," Haberkern said.
That phone call proved to be successful. In September of last year, Joe received a powerchair, which was paid for by medicare.
"I depend on this chair to take care of myself. I can get myself to the bathroom, in bed, out of bed, etc.," Haberkern said, "if this chair dies, I can't do that for myself."
But there's a problem. One of the motors is burning out.
"It could quit tomorrow for all I know. It could quit right now as soon as we're done talking for all I know," Haberkern said.
It should be a simple fix. After all, Haberkern says the part is still under warranty.
But the company who sold it to him is under federal investigation.
In February, 150 federal and state agents raided The Scooter Store's headquarters in Texas. That was after an Inspector General's report found The Scooter Store over billed medicare by as much as $108 million. By giving powerchairs to people who don't need them, or who lacked proof they need them.
The Scooter Store argues the report was flawed, but has agreed to pay back $20 million.
Since then, the Scooter Store has declared bankruptcy and closed most of its small distribution offices like the one in Fort Myers.
Which means Joe hasn't been able to get his chair fixed.
"People like me are hanging out in limbo because we can't get these chairs serviced," Haberkern said.
The company says they will still provide services for their customers. Medicare says they are looking into his complaint. In the meantime, Haberkern is hoping for a result, before his chair gives out for good.
A representative from Medicare says Joe Haberkern's complaint has been received and they are processing his request. But they say it could take 30 to 40 days.