Unable to reach anyone, metro man fights with medical supply company for months

Problem Solvers
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October 7 Update: Since this story aired, Lincare has resolved this problem

LENEXA, Kan. — A metro man has been battling a medical supply company over a billing dispute for 10 months.

Darrell Houde said its gotten so bad he can no longer even reach anyone on the phone. Desperate for help, Houde contacted FOX4 Problem Solvers. 

“I’m tired,” Houde said. “I don’t want to be sent to collections for this, and I don’t want these bills to go stale.”

Houde is talking about a fight over a CPAP machine – a common medical device used to help people breathe more easily while they sleep.

In Houde’s case, the machine should be 100 percent covered by his medical insurance. But he can’t get the coverage because he can’t get the paperwork he needs from the medical supply company to make a claim.

“Every month this year, the insurance company has denied the claim that was sent to them because of missing paperwork,” said Houde who works in the tech industry. “They are not getting the compliance report. They are not getting the purchase price of the device, and each month it goes” on and on and on.

Every month Houde dutifully calls Lincare, the medical supply company, to inquire about the missing paperwork.

“Each time I call, I get somebody who is not the person taking care of my account,” Houde said. “When they do transfer me to that person, it goes to a voicemail, which is full.”

That means each month Houde and his insurance company have to keep paying Lincare to keep renting a machine that would otherwise be free to Houde and much less expensive to his insurance company if it were purchased.

So far, his insurance company has been billed more than $4,000 for the rental of a $500 machine.

Houde isn’t the only one complaining about Lincare — a German company whose U.S. headquarters are in Florida, but has offices across the metro.

More than 900 complaints have been filed against Lincare with the Better Business Bureau, primarily over complaints regarding inaccurate billing or incompetent service.

Houde also filed a BBB complaint. Lincare’s response was that it’s customer care team would look into the problem. Houde said that never happened.

In 2017, Lincare was sued for fraudulently billing the U.S. government for oxygen and respiratory care equipment. It paid $20 million to settle the case.

In 2018, Lincare paid more than $5 million for mishandling federal funds under Medicare Advantage plans.

FOX4 Problem Solvers emailed Lincare’s corporate office in hopes of getting Houde’s problem solved. We never heard back.

So we paid a visit to a Lincare supplier in Lenexa called Sleepcair – the same supplier that Houde used. No one at Sleepcair would help us beyond giving us an 800 number to call Lincare.

After multiple phone calls, Problem Solvers finally tracked down Lincare’s chief compliance officer, Jenna Pederson. She promised to look into Houde’s billing problems.

The very next day, Houde received a call from Gabe Medina at the Sleepcair store in Lenexa who told him that all the proper paperwork had now been submitted.

Houde said he’ll believe that once he sees proof. We’ll let you know what happens.

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