The DOJ has cracked down on recent fraud facilitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and telehealth services. 138 medical professionals were recently charged for alleged healthcare fraud, with the bulk of the scams being committed by telemedicine executives.
The charges target over $1 billion in fraud committed by telehealth services. This is accompanied by $133 million in schemes related to substance abuse treatment facilities and $160 million in illegal opioid distribution and other healthcare fraud.
Court documents state that telehealth executives allegedly compensated medical professionals to order unnecessary medical equipment, diagnostic testing, and pain medications with minimal to no patient interaction. Pharmacies then purchased the orders in exchange for illegal kickbacks and/or bribes. The damages amount to over $1.1 billion in fraudulent claims to Medicare and other government insurers.
Additionally, nine defendants were charged with false billings related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These schemes included exploiting CMS pandemic policies, as well as misusing patient information to submit false or unrelated claims to Medicare.
Nineteen individuals were also charged with providing illegal prescriptions and handouts of over r 12 million opioid doses. The defendants did this while also submitting over $14 million in false billings.
These charges are the latest in the continued DOJ effort to curb healthcare fraud and recover billions of dollars worth of fraud committed against Medicare and other government insurance agencies. With this continued hard stance, these charges look to add to the $1.8 billion recovered in the 2020 fiscal year. (is this added to the $1.8B already collected in 2021?? Or did they collect $1.8B in 2020?