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Disabled Syracuse man struggles to have electric wheelchair repaired: Your Stories

The Scooter Store was one of the industry's leading companies selling wheel-chairs and motorized scooters. But a disabled Syracuse man says the store left him high and dry after it shut down last September following a federal investigation believed to be related to Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - The Scooter Store was one of the industry's leading companies selling wheel-chairs and motorized scooters. But a disabled Syracuse man says the store left him high and dry after it shut down last September following a federal investigation believed to be related to Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

John Burns lost both his legs in 2005 and he says his electric wheelchair is his life-line, but it's on its way out.

“The back is ready to basically collapse, I don't know if I’m going to plop out backwards," Burns explained.

Burns received his electric wheelchair from the scooter store in 2009, but now that the company is out of business, he says no one will fix or replace his chair.

He's called some local companies, but he says it’s a game of phone tag

Burns does have a manual wheelchair in case something happens to his electric wheelchair, but he says it’s not effective.

Especially in the Central New York winters with snow and ice, he says he wouldn't even be able to take this wheelchair outside.

“I’m 54, I can’t get out. I got things I have to do like go shopping and things like that and I can't get a wheelchair," Burns said.

NewsChannel 9 reached out to Medicare and they say Burns needs to find a contracted provider and that there are several that serve the area.

Still, the Vice President of Monroe Wheelchair & Monroe Speech Designs says it will not be that easy.

“Because he doesn't have a relationship with any of those vendors, because they're not the one who provided the equipment to begin with, the repair and service reimbursement rates dropped approximately 50 percent," Jonathan Walters said.

Under Medicare's guidelines, replacement for electric wheelchairs is covered after five years of use.

But if you're under the five years, like Burns, there are no guarantees.

A Medicare spokesperson says a list of contracted providers is available on their website.

Consumers can also receive assistance by calling 1-800-Medicare.

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