Sunday, August 31 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:28:29 GMT
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MCCONNELLS, SC (WBTV) - Tina Lackey's wheelchair gives her what disease took away. The ability to get around.
"If I didn't have a wheelchair I couldn't do the things that I do," said Lackey in the living room of her McConnells, South Carolina home.
Wheelchairs, like cars, need routine maintenance. This past winter Lackey's chair needed new tires. She called the company where she got the chair, Medical Home Health and Mobility in Concord, North Carolina. The company had also done the previous repair work on the chair.
A service technician came out to Lackey's home in early January, but struggled for an hour to get the worn tires off.
"He (service technician) was having some issues," said Lackey's fiancee KO Keller. "(He) sprayed lubricants in it and everything and couldn't get it to move."
The chair was left with Lackey along with a receipt that said the technician did not complete the job. Lackey said she soon had trouble steering the chair. A week later a representative from Medical Home Health and Mobility returned to the Lackey home.
"January 14th is when they came and brought me a loaner and took my chair," said Lackey.
Six months later, Medical Home Health and Mobility still had Lackey's chair. Lackey says she was originally told the parts need for repairs were on backorder. She was then told the company could no longer get the parts.
However, the company sent Lackey a letter. It included a list of companies that could fix the chair.
"It's kind of odd to me that other vendors can get these parts and fix that chair," said Keller. "But they can't, something is not right."
Gene Smith, the owner of Medical Home Health and Mobility said his company couldn't get the parts to fix Lackey's chair because it had credit problems with the supplier. He also said Medicaid, which paid for Lackey's chair, had changed it's rules. Smith said he was told his office wasn't close enough to South Carolina to supply the state's Medicaid system patients.
A spokesperson for South Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services told WBTV News, Medical Home Health and Mobility was disenrolled in the state's Medicaid system in early February. Jeff Stensland says the location of Medical Home Health and Mobility was not the reason for the disenrollment, but wouldn't give a further explanation.
A few days after WBTV News first met with Smith he invited us back to his Concord office. He brought out Lackey's chair, in working order, complete with new tires.
The next day it was delivered back to Lackey's home.
"It is comfortable," said Lackey.
After giving it a short test ride the paperwork was signed. Lackey had her chair back for good.
"It's been since January," said Lackey. "I didn't think I'd ever see the chair again."