A Target on Telehealth: Government Action Against Telehealth Fraud in the Wake of COVID-19
This Briefing is brought to you by AHLA’s Health Care Liability and Litigation Practice Group.
- July 14, 2021
- Kyle Faget , Foley & Lardner LLP
- Lisa Noller , Foley & Lardner LLP
- Lori Rubin , Foley & Lardner LLP
- Lauren Carboni , Foley & Lardner LLP
- Olivia King , Foley & Lardner LLP
The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) is expected to prompt unprecedented levels of regulatory enforcement activity that is focused on the use of telemedicine. In fact, fraudulent and abusive telehealth practices was an area identified by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as an enforcement priority even prior to the COVID-19 PHE. Telehealth has been an important tool for ensuring access to necessary health care services during the PHE, and it has the potential to alleviate provider shortages, ensure access to care for vulnerable patients, including those living in rural areas, and ensure continuity of care. A study conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, found the percentage of Medicare primary care visits provided via telehealth increased from 0.1% to 43.5% between February and April 2020. In addition, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued rules and guidance allowing a number of regulatory flexibilities in the use of telehealth that encouraged the use of telehealth during the PHE.
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