On more than one occasion I have heard someone who is experiencing something pleasant say, “this is just what the doctor ordered.”

Usually it is at the end of a hard day when they are relaxing with their beverage of choice or sitting poolside during vacation. When you are hit with an unexpected treatment or procedure, you modify it slightly and it comes out, “is it just what the doctor ordered?”

Either way, we give credit to our friends in white coats.

Unfortunately, there are those who use this trust of the medical profession to their advantage. They will bank on us blindly accepting a medication, a procedure and a service without much question.

Special notation: There are many honest home health care providers but, as with any other profession, one or two bad apples can spoil the perception of all. Pick your provider carefully and monitor your reports.

How do you know if you qualify for home health care? The easiest answer is if your doctor orders it because you need physical therapy or skilled care as a result of an injury or illness such as follow up for a wound vac treatment, diabetes care and are unable to leave your home.

This “home care” is only for a short period of time and should only last a few hours each week. The agency you select will send a nurse or therapist to your home to perform the necessary procedures.

That sounds simple enough. How can it become fraudulent? The answer is surprisingly simple. You can be billed, or Medicare can be billed, for services or procedures that weren’t ordered or deemed to be medically necessary.

A common example would be the home care therapist who cleans your house instead of performing a billed procedure. It may be nice but it is illegal.

Charging you or your co-pay for a home health service knowing there is no co-pay for those on Medicare except on medical equipment also is fraudulent.

Finally, you could very well be fit enough to leave your home but are still receiving the services.

Remember the old expression: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!”

It can definitely be applied here. Don’t accept anything for free if they want you to give them your Medicare or any other personal information.

In crime prevention, we warn people to be suspicious of anyone who comes to your door unsolicited offering an incredible one-time-only deal.

Be equally suspicious of someone who shows up at your door or calls you claiming the doctor sent them and “boy do they have services they can offer.”

All will be paid by Medicare and they just need your Medicare number to make it happen.

Call your doctor for verification or call the Medicare hotline, Texas Senior Medicare Patrol at 888-341-6187.

All of this information — and much more — can be found in publications and talking with the Texas Senior Medicare Patrol, which also covers Galveston County and the Harris County Agency on Aging.

Keep checking your statements and be sure you can say, “this IS just what the doctor ordered.”

Remember: Think, prepare and execute crime prevention designs. Don’t be a victim.

Walt Candelari is a police officer with Dickinson Police Department. He is writing a series of columns on creating an environment of safety from burglars.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.