Medicare Patient's Embarrassing Question Led to a Breakthrough Diagnosis

Medicare patient Linda Hennis noticed a mysterious charge on her statement and it led to an embarrassing discovery.

The claim, totaling $12,000, was for 2,000 urinary catheters sent to her address. But Hennis, a retired nurse, had never ordered or used catheters before.

She immediately worried whether someone had found a way to steal her identity. But after scrutinizing the claim, she noticed the billing address of the supplier matched her own.

That's when Hennis began to suspect that the catheters had been ordered by someone within her household. But who? Further suspicion eventually led to an unsettling answer: it turns out her adult son, Cliff, had placed the order without her knowledge.

However, Cliff had no intention of using the catheters on his mother. He ordered them for his male dwarf rabbit, Gus, who had developed a liking for defecating on pillows and carpets instead of his litter box.

The rabbit's unusual behavior began in November 2022, and Cliff attempted many solutions to get Gus to stop. When nothing worked, Cliff turned to the internet for help and found a video recommending the use of urinary catheters for housebreaking rabbits.

Catheters are designed to prevent leakage and help rabbits learn to associate the sensation of bowel or bladder distension with using their litter box. The tactic worked, and Gus began using his litter box regularly.

News of the unusual application for a Medicare-funded catheter reached Congresswoman Kelly Armstrong (R-ND). Armstrong, a member of the Medicare for All Caucus, has since joked that perhaps Congress should expand Medicare coverage to include rabbit housebreaking supplies.

The incident also brought up the serious issue of fraud and unnecessary spending in the Medicare system. A program designed to help those in need can often be exploited by unethical healthcare providers and suppliers.

Despite the embarrassment, Linda Hennis is grateful the mistake was caught before it became someone else's problem. She and Cliff agreed to pay for the catheters, and Cliff has since found a more cost-effective option for Gus's litter box issues.

Gus the rabbit is happy with his newfound freshness, and Linda Hennis is relieved her identity was not stolen after all.

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