DEAR SUN SPOTS: Monday, Nov. 19, you printed a letter about obtaining a wheelchair from the Scooter Store in answer to the lady who wrote Nov. 1.
I am hoping you will let this lady and your other readers know that: yes, the Scooter Store personnel are very nice on the phone and will tell you what you want to hear at the moment, but they do not tell you that because they do not have a storefront in Maine they cannot bill MaineCare.
The Scooter Store will tell you that your family doctor can fill out the paperwork so you do not have to go to the wheelchair clinic. This is not true. MaineCare will not pay without this evaluation.
Next, the Scooter Store will tell you that MaineCare has approved your chair, but they never put in the paperwork for the prior approval, which is needed before you receive your chair. MaineCare will not purchase any equipment without this prior approval first.
Next they bring your chair (mine was not even the one that I picked out online from their website). When they arrive they will continue to tell you that MaineCare has paid their part. But they have not followed any of MaineCare rules, so who is going to end up paying the 20 percent (about $469.59)?
The customer is!
Please feel free to use my name as I am willing to tell my story to anyone before they make the same mistake as I did. Thank you! — Rhonda Washburn, Auburn, firstname.lastname@example.org
ANSWER: Because this topic appeared in the column so long ago, many readers have undoubtedly forgotton it. The original letter was from a woman who needed a wheelchair but was not old enough for Medicare.
Another reader wrote in and recommended the Scooter Store, and Rhonda's letter is in response to that endorsement.
Sun Spots tried to get comments from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services regarding MaineCare policy, but she failed. State employees used to respond promptly, but in recent months her inquiries have been ignored. (One state employee told Sun Spots that they have been instructed not to speak to the media in any capacity.)
Sun Spots did try to contact the Scooter Store for comment, but that was as unsuccessful as the state inquiry.
The only person who responded was Roland, the Medicare specialist at SeniorsPlus. He read Rhonda's letter and said: "This sounds very accurate for me. Purchasing any durable medical equipment must be coordinated between your doctor and Medicare/Maine Care to get proper approval and compensation."
DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have used you in the past, and you have been very helpful. I am looking for a baby crib in good condition for my granddaughter, who is due next month.
I would be willing to pay a reasonable price. You can call me at 645-2601. — Ellen Hiscock, email@example.com
ANSWER: This letter nudged Sun Spots' brain and provided additional thoughts on Tuesday's question from Rachel in Lewiston, who is looking for a foam mattress 30 inches wide (most twins are 36 inches).
Somehow thinking about cribs turned Sun Spots' thoughts to cots, and she checked to see how wide those mattresses are. They are indeed 30 inches wide, so Sun Spots checked and found one on Amazon.com for $50. It's called a stram mattress.
There are probably ones even cheaper on eBay or other websites. Or readers may know of a source. Rachel should search for "cot replacement mattress."
DEAR SUN SPOTS: Regarding the question in the Feb. 5 column, I received an Outback Steakhouse gift certificate and went on their website and sent them an email.
They said to send your gift card, along with a note, your name, address, daytime phone to Blooming Brands, Attn: Kati Scircle, 2202 N. West Shore Blvd., Tampa, FL 33607. They recommended sending it certified mail. Expect four to six weeks for a refund.
I have not received a refund as of yet, but the full six weeks has not yet expired. — Anita Austin, Sabattus
ANSWER: Anita is right. Just after Sun Spots gave up hearing from Bloomin' Brands and published the query, a representative called back. She said that because the Outback in Maine closed that they will refund the money.
This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.