The web Browser you are currently using is unsupported, and some features of this site may not work as intended. Please update to a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox or Edge to experience all features Michigan.gov has to offer.
AG Nessel Warns Consumers of Medical Brace Scams After Complaints of Unfair Trade Practices
December 08, 2023
LANSING – Medical braces have become a frequent object used in scams that involve sending the supposedly free devices to Medicare recipients, but billing the recipients’ Medicare account. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wants to caution seniors about this scam, which could result in denial of needed medical equipment later.
After recent complaints about medical supply company Med Leaf Supply from Medicare recipients who received unwanted braces, Nessel has secured an agreement with Med Leaf whereby the company agrees to cease and desist doing business in Michigan.
The Attorney General received a complaint against Med Leaf alleging the company sent unsolicited back and wrist braces to a 77-year-old Oceana County, Michigan woman claiming the braces were ordered by the woman’s doctor. Phone calls from Med Leaf appeared on the recipient’s caller ID as being from Spectrum Health but were not.
The braces were sent with a form for the consumer to fill out so that Medicare could be billed; otherwise, the consumer was given to understand she must pay for them out of pocket.
“While there is only one confirmed Michigan resident who was targeted by this latest scam, it is critical that we alert other residents who may have also been targeted by similar operators,” said Nessel. “The scam of mailing or prescribing unneeded durable medical equipment costs Medicare tens of millions of dollars every year, sometimes disqualifying patients for these devices when they really need them.”
In addition to Michigan, online complaints were also reported from consumers in Georgia and Pennsylvania. The State believes Med Leaf Supply engaged in prohibited business practices such as representing to consumers that they were receiving medical devices prescribed by their doctors when that was not the case. The company is also alleged to have violated the Home Solicitations Sales Act and the Michigan Consumer Protection Act by interfering with caller ID and making it appear that calls were originating from a place other than where they actually came from.
Though Med Leaf has not admitted to any wrongdoing and is not required to make any monetary restitution, the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance secured by the Department of Attorney General prohibits the company from initiating or participating in any new sales or trades with Michigan consumers.
Nessel continued, “This is just another way to take advantage of seniors and defraud the government at the same time. My office is putting health care fraudsters on notice: We will hold you accountable for targeting Michigan residents and violating the law.”
Nessel amplified the advice from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General, which is to:
- hang up immediately if you receive a call from someone offering a free brace that will be billed to Medicare;
- avoid accepting medical equipment that is delivered unless it was ordered by your doctor;
- be suspicious of anyone who offers free medical equipment and then requests your Medicare number; if your personal information is compromised, it could be used in other fraud schemes;
- make sure a physician you know and trust approves any requests for equipment to address your medical needs; and
- report suspected Medicare fraud by contacting the HHS Office of Inspector General hotline at 1-800-447-8477.
Attorney General Nessel also encourages any Michigan resident who recently received medical equipment or braces that were not prescribed by their doctor to contact the Department of Attorney General.