Fixing a wheelchair insurance mess

Seven On Your Side
June 27, 2008 8:45:41 PM PDT
Seven On Your Side went to battle to help a handicapped woman from Queens get back her life, and her dignity. For months, Carol Hinds has been trapped in her home after a Medicare mess cost her the use of a wheelchair. Hinds is a prisoner in bed, because for the past six months, she has been without a working wheelchair.

Carol was paralyzed nearly 20 years ago, shot in the back by her husband before he took his own life.

"He shot me three times," she said.

She hasn't been able to walk since.

Carol regained her independence, relying on a wheelchair for more than a decade. But last year, it broke down. And that's when Medicare paid for a replacement. But...

"The chair just tips," she said. "The wheels just go off the back and just flip me over....I give it back."

Luckily, her home health attendant was there when the wheelchair failed.

"[The chair] was unacceptable," aide Cynthia Bell said.

So Carol returned the chair. But Medicare denied her request for a replacement, saying Carol still had the wheelchair. Even though Medicare's own documents indicated the chair had been returned and the money, $6,300, refunded.

Eyewitness News reporter Tappy Phillips: They're saying you have a chair." Carol: "They say I have a chair." Tappy: "The chair that you sent back?" Carol: "Yeah."

That's when we started calling Medicare, who finally recognized their mistake. And earlier this week, we were there when MedStar Surgical Supply delivered a brand new custom made wheelchair.

"I can get out and do everything," Carol said. "My shopping, my everything...I'm going dancing tomorrow."

Finally, Carol had her independence and her dignity restored.


STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Tappy Phillips