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Doctors Cashing Telehealth Paychecks Run Fraud Risk After Virus

Cybersecurity and Privacy   |   Health Care   |   July 7, 2020

Carlton Fields privacy and white-collar crime attorneys, Patricia Carreiro and Erin Hoyle, respectively, were quoted in a Bloomberg Health Law & Business article, “Doctors Cashing Telehealth Paychecks Run Fraud Risk After Virus,” about the potential penalties for health care providers that continue to rely on telehealth waivers after the coronavirus crisis wanes.

Physicians have been able to receive telehealth reimbursements for virtual patient visits throughout the pandemic, but should remain watchful for potential fraud concerns under the False Claims Act when those rules revert to pre-pandemic standards. 

Providers are advised not to take advantage of telehealth’s exponential expansion — physicians should not see it “as an opportunity to misuse it and make a quick buck,” Carreiro said.

“Bursts of False Claims Act enforcement actions typically follow times of crisis. I don’t expect the Covid-19 pandemic to be any different,” Hoyle stated. “False claims involving telemedicine during and after the pandemic will likely have the same hallmarks of other common healthcare fraud schemes — illegal kickbacks, deceiving vulnerable consumers, and unnecessary prescriptions, testing, or medical devices.”

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