A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of having a Medicare employee (or at least that’s what he claimed) enter (of course without warning or without an appointment) my office and stated, “I Need to take some pictures.” He never stated his name, or showed a card or asked for pictures of anything specific. However, having been practicing for almost 9 years now, I know not to mess with Medicare so I politely replied, “Sure thing! What is it that you need pictures of?” Apparently, that was the wrong question to ask because the next 20 minutes of my life were not only painful, but shocking.
First, the gentleman started shaking a paper in my face (apparently, my Medicare DME license application) asking me “Did you not fill this out?? “Why am I even here, if you have no idea why?” Then he finally stated that, “First of all I need to make sure you’re ACTUALLY working here.” I replied with “Well sir, I’m Dr. ________, and this is my office what is it I can do to help you today?” He replied. “Well this front desk is not your staff and these are not your patient’s files.” (I share office space with another office and have a separate front desk area). I said that’s correct and directed him to my front office only to get in a condescending tone - “That’s your front office??” which was accompanied by a head shake and a mumble under his breath. I also reminded him my name is on the office door and on the sign out front. He then proceeded to threaten to not approve my DME license because I was not showing him what he needed to take pictures of and started getting loud. He then stated that his back was “killing him” and he needed to lean against something because this was “taking so long.”
I politely asked him to follow me to my office so he could take a seat and rest his back. Also, I needed to move him out of the front office because he was making a scene and it was embarrassing all the while trying to figure out exactly what it was that he needed. Apparently, I was supposed to know and he would not tell me directly. He was loud and speaking in a very rude ton. My suite mates, as well as their patients could hear him. I finally told him, “Sir I am doing everything I can to help you; you do not need to be rude”. Once we got to my office he refused to sit and got very mean. He stated, “So you’re a Doctor? A Real Doctor??” I responded that I was in fact, “a real doctor.” He then said, “Well do you talk to your patients this way? They tell you they are in pain and you tell them they are being rude?” I said no sir, I do not. I am only trying to get you what you are here for and you are being very rude to me. I did not tell you that you were rude because you were in pain. It was the way you were speaking to me. “
After about 15 min of agonizing pain, rude conversation and several threats to make me start the application process over, he finally tells me he wanted to see pictures of my DME inventory. I graciously showed him a few pairs of custom orthotics I had in my office ready to dispense, and then took him to the room where I keep my other DME products. He snapped a few pictures and his whole demeanor changed and then asked my “medical opinion” on how to treat his back pain? He then told me I should be getting my letter in the mail or an email from Medicare with my approval. Seriously?? This whole horrible situation could have been avoided had the gentleman just stated who he was and that he was here to take pictures of my DME inventory for my Medicare DME license.
Moral of this story, if “some person” from Medicare shows up at your doorstep and you have applied for a Medicare DME license, just take him right back to you DME products. That’s all he needs to see. Avoid the agonizing pain and waste of time I experienced.