$240,000,000.00 In Taxpayer Funds Spent On Penis Pumps For Seniors

December 7, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – According to data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicare has spent more than $240 million of taxpayer money on penis pumps for elderly men over the past decade, and will surpass a quarter of a billion dollars this year for costs since 2001.

The cost to taxpayers for the pumps more than quadrupled during that period, from a low of $11 million in 2001 to a high of more than $47 million in 2010. And these represent only the costs for external devices, technically classified as “Male Vacuum Erection Systems,” not implantable devices or oral drugs such as Viagra.

Easy to Qualify

In order to obtain a pump, according to CMS’s Local Coverage Determination (LCD) revised in October this year, the “patient’s medical record must contain sufficient documentation of the patient’s medical condition to substantiate the necessity for the type and quantity of items ordered,” noting erectile dysfunction (ED) can “commonly occur in men in the Medicare age group.”
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The National Institutes of Health previously estimated between 15 percent and 25 percent of 65-year-old men experience ED on a long-term basis, which the LCD notes may be caused by “diabetes, other endocrine abnormalities, vascular abnormalities, trauma, neurogenic, psychogenic, side effects of many medications, and other causes.” The Cleveland Clinic also points to “psychological factors, such as stress, depression, and performance anxiety” as possible causes.

If a medical exam and history shows a senior on Medicare meets the relevant threshold—a diagnosis of ED—he becomes eligible for a wide range of options under the Medicare Prosthetic benefit. Treatment Options covered by Medicare include “oral medications, pharmacological injections, intra-urethral suppositories, vacuum erection devices, and implantable penile pumps.”

But are these devices really “medically necessary”? Health Care News contacted CMS to ask whether they have audited the medical files to determine medical necessity. CMS has not provided a response at the time of publication.

Rising Incidence of Fraud

One area of concern for CMS is the rise in fraud in relation to the pump devices. Earlier this year an Illinois man pled guilty to collecting more than $2 million from Medicare in a fraudulent operation where he repackaged $26 items from adult websites and sold them to seniors as medical devices, charging Medicare $284 apiece.

Device fraud has become an increasingly common way for criminals bilk the taxpayers. Durable medical equipment (DME) is widely perceived as a “high risk” area for fraud, according to a spokesman for the HHS Office of the Inspector General. And a report released last month by CMS found the error and improper payment rate for DME was above 60 percent, whereas no other area even entered double digits.

Questionable Medical Need

Given the questionable medical need for this technology’s utilization and the significant percentage of improper DME payments, John Nothdurft, director of government relations for The Heartland Institute, questions whether it is prudent for Medicare to continue to pay for penis pumps.

“At a time when the federal government borrows 43 cents of every dollar it spends, do we really need to be spending money on this? I doubt you need a ‘Super Committee’ to realize that this is the epitome of wasteful spending,” Nothdurft said.

In prior reports of Medicare’s trustees, the program’s actuary projected Medicare has $36.8 trillion in unfunded liabilities. And according to their 2011 report, Medicare spending is expected to grow from 3.6 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 to roughly 10.7 percent of GDP in 2085.

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$325,000 Lawsuit Charges Gretna Louisiana Police Officer Joseph Mekdessie With Taser Weapon Attack On 7 Year Old Boy – Officer Also Subject Of $32 Million Lawsuit In Penis Case

August 26, 2011

A Gretna police officer accused in a lawsuit this month of unleashing his canine on a suspect whose penis was nearly severed has been accused in another lawsuit of injuring a 7-year-old boy with his Taser, a shock intended for the boy’s father who says he wrongly arrested during a traffic stop. Officer Joseph Mekdessie, Chief Arthur Lawson, the Gretna Police Department and the City of Gretna are named in the lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans by attorneys for Marlon Bordelon Sr., and his son Marlon Bordelon Jr., who seek $325,000 in damages in the May 21 incident.

Lawson said Monday he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment, but he knew of no instances in which a child was hit with a Taser.

The Bordelons were “traveling home” when Mekdessie conducted a traffic stop and allegedly shined his flashlight in the boy’s face, leading the father to question why the officer was doing it, according to the lawsuit filed by attorney Edwin Shorty Jr. The officer then asked the elder Bordelon for his license and registration, and asked him to get out of the car.

The father twice asked why he was being ordered out of the car and refused to get out, “prompting Officer Mekdessie to say, ‘Don’t get tased in front of your son.'”

“Mr. Bordelon then asked the officer, ‘So you’re just gonna tase me in front of my son?'” and again refused to get out of his car, according to the lawsuit.

When the father told his son to call his mother, Mekdessie fired his Taser, striking the man and his son. Mekdessie fired the Taser a second time at the man, causing him to fall out of the car and onto the ground, where the officer placed a stun gun to the man’s neck and shocked him before putting him in handcuffs and dragging him and punched in the neck and face, according to the lawsuit.

Marlon Bordelon Jr. was taken to Children’s Hospital, where a burn mark on his leg caused by the Taser was noted, according to the lawsuit. After he was released from jail on charges of battery on a police officer and traffic offenses, Bordelon Sr., was treated for a black eye and first-degree burns, according to the lawsuit.

Mekdessie “mislabeled” Bordelon’s “involuntary gestations,” caused by his being shocked, Bordelon alleges. Bordelon says he did nothing wrong, but that Mekdessie “sought to falsely prosecute … and to concoct a false story against him.”

The lawsuit accused Lawson and the police department of not properly training officers to use Tasers and approve their use even when there is no threat to the officer.

Mekdessie, Lawson, Officer Roland Kindell and the police department were sued Aug. 9, by Cody Melancon of Gretna, who alleges his constitutional rights were violated May 31, when Mekdessie, Kindell and other officers went to his apartment to arrest him on a warrant.

Melancon admits he initially tried to hide from the officers. But he said he surrendered, and despite complying, Mekdessie allegedly released his police canine, Zin, without cause. The dog bit at Melancon’s groin area, causing extensive damage and leaving him sexually dysfunctional. Melancon seeks $31 million in damages.

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New South Wales Australia Police Officer Adam McDonald Gets Job Back After Drunken Wreck (Found With Penis Drawn On His Cheek With Permanent Marker)

March 27, 2011

NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA – A POLICE officer from the New South Wales south coast sacked for getting so drunk he wrecked two cars and asked a colleague to fake a breath test for him has won his job back.

Kiama Senior Constable Adam McDonald, 35, got so inebriated at a local ping-pong competition in January 2009 that when he drove home he totalled a parked car before smashing into a retaining wall, a court was told.

When the owner of the smashed car called police, Mr McDonald asked his colleagues to classify the crash as a “minor incident” and told them he would walk home.

They refused and arrested Mr McDonald, who they discovered had a penis drawn on his left cheek with a permanent marker.

The Industrial Court heard the officer was taken to Kiama Police Station where he asked another officer to take a breath test in his place before returning a blood alcohol reading of 0.205.

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He was sacked in December 2009 by NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, a known teetotaller, who was furious about the incident.

But Mr McDonald has won his job back after challenging his sacking in the Industrial Court of NSW.

The court heard that on the day of the crash Mr McDonald had been at a golf and poker day at Kiama Golf Club where he drank four schooners of beer over four hours. He then bought a 750ml bottle of bourbon and went to the ping-pong competition located “two to three” kilometres from his home.

After passing out at the competition, Mr McDonald woke up and attempted to drive home when he hit the parked car, according to the court judgment.

Police arrived at the scene on Meehan Drive and found a parked car had been “extensively damaged” with the bumper ripped off and the engine exposed.

Mr McDonald appeared to be heavily intoxicated, court documents said. He was “observed… as having drawings of penises on the left side of his face and on his left leg, apparently drawn with a black marker”, court documents said.

He had the words “F*k the police” written on his back and his fly was undone, the court heard.

According to police, Mr McDonald was abusive and tried to use his position to have officers cover-up the incident.

Mr McDonald told the court he remembered little of the night.

He said people he didn’t know were mixing his drinks and that they could have spiked them with drugs or large quantities of alcohol.

In court, Judge Wayne Haylen accepted the submissions and said the sacking was harsh.

He said Mr McDonald would have felt “fear and concern” when he awoke to find people drawing on him which may have “caused him to drive his vehicle when he otherwise would not have done so”.Judge Haylen also said Mr McDonald, a father of three, was remorseful, had apologised and attended alcohol counselling.

He also said Mr McDonald was at risk of losing his house after being suspended without pay for 15 months.

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“Officer Of The Year” – Stamford Connecticut Police Officer Paul Mabey Arrested After Showing Female Motorist A Picture of His Penis

June 4, 2010

STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT – A Connecticut police officer has been arrested on a misdemeanor charge for allegedly showing a female motorist a cell phone picture of his genitals during a traffic stop.

Stamford Officer Paul Mabey, who was named the city’s “Officer of the Year” in 2006, was charged with disorderly conduct Wednesday and released on a promise to appear in Superior Court at a later date. He was suspended with pay on Friday.

Police say a 26-year-old Norwalk woman came forward last week with allegations that Mabey made inappropriate passes at her and showed her the cell phone picture during a traffic stop on May 26.

The 40-year-old Mabey couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday. There’s no phone listing for him. The 14-year police veteran is married with a baby.

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Veteran Billings Montana Police Officer Curtis Eckhardt Arrested, Charged, And Suspended After Drunken Piss In Public Park At Concert. Veteran Officer Steve Swanson Hospitalized And Under Investigation After Drunken Wreck

June 1, 2010

BILLINGS, MONTANA – Two Billings police officers face an uncertain future after one was arrested for urinating in public during a concert at MetraPark and another crashed his car, possibly while drunk. Both incidents took place over the weekend.

Police Chief Rich St. John said Tuesday morning that Officer Curtis Eckhardt is on paid administrative leave after he was arrested Friday night by Yellowstone County sheriff’s deputies for urinating in public in the arena at MetraPark. Eckhardt, 51, was attending a concert by Styx, Foreigner and Kansas.

According to a sheriff’s report, Eckhardt was detained by MetraPark security after ushers saw him with his genitalia exposed and “urinating among the crowd in the arena area.” Sheriff’s deputies arrived at about 11:05 p.m. and took Eckhardt into custody.

He was taken to the Yellowstone County Detention Facility and was released after receiving a citation for disorderly conduct.

St. John said Eckhardt was intoxicated but cooperative with sheriff’s deputies. St. John said someone complained to ushers about Eckhardt’s behavior, and the ushers then called security and the sheriff’s office.

“He is on administrative leave pending the disposition of this and the internal affairs investigation,” St. John said. “There is no indication that he caused any problems for the deputies.”

St. John said Deputy Police Chief Tim O’Connell will investigate the incident. Eckhardt has been with the department for almost 22 years and works as a patrolman.

Just before 11 p.m. Saturday night, Officer Steve Swanson crashed his personal car in the 3100 block of Hillcrest Road. According to information from St. John, Swanson was heading south on the road and going around a bend when his right tires went off the road. Swanson overcorrected, crossed the road and went into the ditch on the other side. The car hit the ditch hard and went end over end before it rolled on its side, eventually landing on the passenger side.

Swanson wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and both speed and alcohol were factors in the crash, St. John said. Swanson was taken to the hospital with serious injuries and is still in the hospital with broken ribs, a collapsed lung and a damaged spleen, St. John said.

“He’s extremely fortunate to not have been ejected and not seriously injured or killed,” St. John said.

The Montana Highway Patrol responded to the crash and is investigating. The MHP took a blood sample from Swanson but haven’t issued any citations yet, St. John said. The Police Department has begun an investigation but won’t take any action against Swanson until his condition improves and the MHP can determine what happened in the crash, St. John said.

Swanson is a 13-year veteran currently assigned to the U.S. Marshals Service Violent Offender Fugitive Task Force. He has served on the city’s SWAT team.

St. John said he was extremely disappointed in the behavior of both officers.

“We work very hard to gain the public’s trust and this knocks us backward,” he said. “To have our officers involved in such shameful activity is not only a violation of the public’s trust but a complete dishonor to this department and the officers who uphold the integrity and honor that goes along with the badge.”

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Franklin County Ohio Sheriff’s Deputies Joseph Cantwell And Phillip Barnett Forced Inmate To Place His Penis On Sandwich That Was Fed To Another Inmate

May 9, 2009

COLUMBUS, OHIO — A former inmate filed a $25,000 lawsuit against the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, claiming his civil rights were violated when deputies allegedly enlisted him to tamper with another inmate’s food.

It is alleged that Deputies Joseph Cantwell and Phillip Barnett forced inmate Todd Triplett to place his penis on a sandwich before it was fed to an unsuspecting inmate, 10TV’s Maureen Kocot reported.

The alleged incident occurred in late February at the downtown Franklin County Jail.

Franklin County Sheriff Jim Karnes said that Cantwell and Barnett have been terminated from their positions, Kocot reported.

In addition to losing his job, Cantwell also faces criminal charges in connection with the case.

Triplett told 10TV News that is still humiliated by the incident.

“I walk down the street and I see people look at me because I’ve been on the news and they judge me,” he said. “Really I didn’t mean any harm. I’ve never hurt anyone.”

Triplett is seeking $25,000 in damages, Kocot reported.

The lawsuit alleges that the deputies threatened to put Triplett “in the hole” if he did not comply with their orders. The suit also claims that the deputies used a cell phone to take pictures of the act.

“This was a big joke to them,” said attorney Byron Potts, who is representing Triplett. “Then they had the audacity to film it. I’ve seen the picture.”

Potts said he has received phone calls from other inmates who claim that they were the targets of hazing but did not come forward because they feared no one would believe them.

“The people that are incarcerated don’t really have voice,” Potts said “They don’t have someone to champion their cause.”

The attorney representing the inmate who was allegedly forced to eat the tainted sandwich said he is also preparing a lawsuit.

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Franklin County Ohio Sheriff’s Deputies Joseph Cantwell And Phillip Barnett Forced Inmate To Place His Penis On Sandwich That Was Fed To Another Inmate

May 9, 2009

COLUMBUS, OHIO — A former inmate filed a $25,000 lawsuit against the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, claiming his civil rights were violated when deputies allegedly enlisted him to tamper with another inmate’s food.

It is alleged that Deputies Joseph Cantwell and Phillip Barnett forced inmate Todd Triplett to place his penis on a sandwich before it was fed to an unsuspecting inmate, 10TV’s Maureen Kocot reported.

The alleged incident occurred in late February at the downtown Franklin County Jail.

Franklin County Sheriff Jim Karnes said that Cantwell and Barnett have been terminated from their positions, Kocot reported.

In addition to losing his job, Cantwell also faces criminal charges in connection with the case.

Triplett told 10TV News that is still humiliated by the incident.

“I walk down the street and I see people look at me because I’ve been on the news and they judge me,” he said. “Really I didn’t mean any harm. I’ve never hurt anyone.”

Triplett is seeking $25,000 in damages, Kocot reported.

The lawsuit alleges that the deputies threatened to put Triplett “in the hole” if he did not comply with their orders. The suit also claims that the deputies used a cell phone to take pictures of the act.

“This was a big joke to them,” said attorney Byron Potts, who is representing Triplett. “Then they had the audacity to film it. I’ve seen the picture.”

Potts said he has received phone calls from other inmates who claim that they were the targets of hazing but did not come forward because they feared no one would believe them.

“The people that are incarcerated don’t really have voice,” Potts said “They don’t have someone to champion their cause.”

The attorney representing the inmate who was allegedly forced to eat the tainted sandwich said he is also preparing a lawsuit.

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