Siemens Pays $5.9M to Settle Overcharging Claim

Siemens pays $5.9 million to settle claims it overcharged U.S. government for imaging equipment

May 15, 2015
by Lauren Dubinsky , Staff Writer
Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc. has agreed to pay a $5.9 million settlement to resolve allegations that it overcharged the U.S. government for medical imaging equipment.Between February 2002 and December 2008, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Defense Supply Center of Philadelphia (DSCP) entered into an agreement with Siemens called the DSCP Contract. Through that contract, those organizations — as well as the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) — purchased medical imaging equipment and support products.

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The government is claiming that Siemens did not provide the DoD with the largest discount for certain purchases under the contract. Instead, it alleges that Siemens gave the biggest discount to a private or commercial customer that purchased a similar product.

The government also states that Siemens withheld information about overcharging. According to a statement from the DoD, when the overcharging was initially revealed, Siemens “issued mass discounts on multiple occasions to address the mis-billing on a prospective basis,” but that only further concealed it from the government.

The VA was also overcharged for certain orders made under the contract that had been converted to a newer model, according to the government’s claim. Some of the orders did not receive the larger discount that pertained to the newer model.

Despite paying the settlement, Siemens “denies any wrongdoing,” says Lance Longwell, director of corporate communications at Siemens. He told DOTmed News in a statement that the company made the payment to prevent further expenses and distractions.

Longwell also stated that Siemens has improved its processes for monitoring government compliance over the years and continues in its unwavering commitment to its customers, “including important government customers, and adherence to all applicable laws and regulations.”

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10 Corporations that are not paying their fair share (includes GE)

Bernie-Sanders-Corporate-Tax-4001

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May 12, 2015 · 2:09 pm

Apple Watch is Based on “Planned Obsolescence”

Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is ‘planned obsolescence’

Tech website iFixit found that Apple had ensured that the technology would eventually fall out of use, forcing customers to buy new products

Jamie Campbell

Saturday 25 April 2015

Tech repair and upgrade website iFixit has claimed that the Apple Watch won’t be a long term option for those hoping to continually upgrade their device.

CEO Kyle Wiens has always been a vocal critic of Apple’s obstructive policies on third parties fixing and upgrading iOS devices and his company provide an online “free repair guide for everything” where methods to repair or improve electronic devices are posted.

Upon the release of the Apple Watch, Wiens’ company immediately got down to the business of (iBuffs look away now) tearing the brand new product open and evaluating it from the inside.

Their prying work has discovered that the “overall device construction limits further repair options”.

“The S1 SiP [internal system in package] is encased in resin, and is further held in place by a mess of glue and soldered ribbon connectors. In short, basic component replacements look nearly impossible.”

The s1SiP is custom-designed Apple technology that integrates a number of subsystems like the chip into one package. It is encased in resin to increase its durability.

Read more:
iFixit: A million little pieces
Apple watch goes on sale
Apple watch: First version unlikely to be a measure of success

Therefore, according to iFixit, the Apple Watch has intentional obsolescence built into it as it will become technologically redundant as processors become faster and apps are supported only by the newest models.

This tactic is known as ‘planned obsolescence’ and has been an accusation levelled at Apple for a number of years.

The current operating system for iPhones, for example, only supports some of the newer models and it appears that the Apple Watch will find itself in a similar position.

This revelation may trouble users, who will have paid £479 for the standard model or even up to £9,500 if they bought the 18-Carat Rose Gold Case edition.

The exploratory work by iFixit revealed that the device includes a 2-5mAh battery, compared to a 300mAh battery found in competing devices, like the Motorola Moto 360 and Samsung Gear Live. The device also includes an ARM Cortex mj3-based touchscreen controller.

The research also interestingly found that, although Apple has promoted the device’s heart rate monitoring feature, it is actually bundled with a plethysmograph that could act as a pulse oximeter. This could allow users to measure their own blood oxygen levels.

Apple has never commented on claims that this is policy that they pursue.

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2015 MacBook is the least repairable yet

Apple By Matthew Humphries Apr. 15, 2015 11:28 am

Apple has demonstrated repeatedly that it does not want owners of its hardware attempting to fix it themselves. That’s their right, but the 12-inch 2015 MacBook has taken that unrepairablity outside of Apple’s own tech department to a new level.

iFixit has carried out its usual teardown of the newest MacBook on the market, and the verdict is basically: don’t even bother trying to repair this laptop yourself. It scored 1 out of 10 on their scale, and is a case filled with proprietary screws and a lot of adhesive.

 

We’ve already seen how the MacBook is mostly batteries inside the case, but the terraced battery system isn’t just placed snugly, it is firmly glued to the lower casing. The central battery is even placed in a well and glued in place making it very difficult to remove if necessary. The result is batteries that have to be forced out and are left covered in glue.

Then we have the new butterfly mechanism keyboard. It has a backing secured with adhesive that once removed reveals two proprietary pentalobe screws per key. That’s 83 screws total just in the keyboard. iFixit also has some concerns about that butterfly mechanism as it is very thin and uses a plastic hinge. How well will that hold up over time?

Apple has been criticized for only including a single USB port to handle both power and peripheral connections. It is going to get a lot of use and abuse, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to replace if damaged. Apple has secured it underneath the display bracket, meaning a lot of disassembly will be required if it breaks.

 

Then finally, and as expected, the logic board has everything soldered on to it, so no RAM or flash memory upgrades, and if something goes wrong you’ll need a new board.

If you’re purchasing this MacBook and happen to be accident prone or really couldn’t handle a costly repair in the near future, then you need to do what Apple really want you to do anyway: also purchase an AppleCare Protection Plan.

CLICK HERE to read the complete story and see the photos

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Ortho Clinical Diagnostics – outrageous charges?

I recently was sent a letter from Ortho Clinical Diagnostics by a friend in a hospital.  I publish it below, with my highlighting.  It is a glaring example of how a company can use obscenely high charges to pressure customers into signing a service contract.  I’ve had problems with Ortho’s customer service and pricing for many years.  I guess they haven’t changed.

To summarize, they say in the first sentence that the purpose of this letter is to encourage customers into signing contracts.They profess LIMITED TECHNICAL SUPPORT over the phone, but even that is at prevailing labor rates – up to $1,580 per hour, with a 2 hour minimum.  So a 10 minute phone call is going to cost a hospital between $1,580 and $3,160!

Zone charges are $1,530 per trip. without regard to how far they must travel, or haw long it takes them.  A trip across town would incur a $1,530 charge!

Adding the minimum labor, the minimum charge for an onsite visit would be $3,110, even if the service engineer were across the street.

I believe that these charges and rates are flagrant attempts to place undue pressure on hospitals to sign contracts,which themselves are very lucrative for the company.

Please factor these after-purchase costs in when deciding which medical equipment to purchase.                          Pat Lynch

Ortho Rate Sheet

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Dishonest Company – Industry Alert – SPT Medical Equipment


from ICE (www.ImagingIgloo.com)

 We wish to inform all of our colleagues in the medical imaging equipment industry of scammers that we recently encountered, who are specifically targeting buyers of medical equipment. The company is called SPT Medical Equipment from Helsinki, Finland, and the contact we communicated with went under the name Henri Kapanen. This company is skilled at looking legit. They were able to provide us photos of the equipment (in this case, a Siemens Emotion CT scanner) that matched the description, and they gave full specifications as would be expected from someone selling an actual system. Be aware, however, that this company will steal your deposit and suddenly become impossible to contact. The equipment never shows up.
  • We have since learned that these people may operate under different names and websites, appearing to be from different countries. These include http://www.sptmedical.com, http://www.lmx-med.com, http://www.dnbmedical.com, http://www.mg-medi.com, and possibly others. Notice the similarity between these websites, the images, and the content. Some of our information suggests that the individuals responsible may actually be from Russia.

    How do you avoid scammers like this? Always know who you’re dealing with. Ask for and check for reputable industry references. Whenever possible, physically inspect the equipment, and look for any signs that the vendor may be trying to avoid allowing an inspection. (In our case, they told us the equipment was already crated and in a facility where inspection was not possible. This is a major red flag.) Always get good pictures and details, and check that the pictures are consistent. (We have seen other brokers actually send marketing or promotional pictures for equipment, claiming them to be the actual equipment being sold. Some people send images they found on the internet.) Verify that the vendor is a member in good standing of well-known industry communities that check member credentials, such as DOTMed or IAMERS. If they are not, contact these organizations and ask if they are aware of any reasons to be concerned.

    Those of us well grounded in this industry hold it very dear, and it is our responsibility to uphold integrity and to keep dishonest people like this from conducting their immoral form of “business.” Thanks for your attention, and please spread the word!

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Beware Mukaz Hassan from Almukaz Company LLC

reposted from DotMed Forums . . .

Adam Rudinger

Beware Mukaz Hassan from almukaz company llc

September 25, 2014 10:22

I received an email from this guy wanting to buy 2 scopes from me recently. I went online and checked him and his company out and it seemed legit. He requested a wire transfer as payment, which I have done for many other companies around the world, so I gave him my info. He then proceeded to “mistakenly” deposit $29,500 into my account and wanted me to return the difference to him as it was an “error” in his accounting department. I called my Bank to report this as obvious fraud and sure enough they had a letter in hand that stated the money was being deposited from a well known Bank. The lady at the Bank laughed and said it looked like a 3rd grader wrote the letter and yes it was obviously fraud. Can’t these people get a real job and earn a real living instead of trying to rip people off!!!!

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