Recent DOJ Fraud Charges Include Few Details and Links to Telehealth

Center for Connected Health Policy

June 2021

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced criminal charges against a variety of individuals related to various alleged COVID-19 fraud schemes. One of the kickback schemes does appear to include a telehealth element.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced criminal charges against a variety of individuals related to various alleged COVID-19 fraud schemes. Most of the new cases appear to be related to fraudulent testing claims and kickback schemes, although one of the kickback schemes does appear to include a telehealth element. According to the DOJ press release, two Florida men – a consultant as well as a Texas laboratory owner – allegedly exploited temporary telehealth waivers by offering providers access to Medicare beneficiaries for whom they could bill consultations. In return, the providers referred the patients to that laboratory for potentially unnecessary cancer and cardiovascular genetic testing. Despite potentially misleading headlines, most charges appear to only be against executives and additional details directly tying the fraud to telehealth and the correspondence, billing, and waivers in question have yet to be released. As one updated mHealth Intelligence article later noted, “the charges try to link fraud cases to telehealth coverage, but are more closely aligned with telefraud.” For more information read the full DOJ press release - https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/doj-announces-coordinated-law-enforcement-action-combat-health-care-fraud-related-covid-19.