The growing acceptance of telemedicine options in Florida and nationwide provide benefits for vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and chronically ill. It can also greatly improve the ability of clinicians to provide health care to patients who might otherwise not be able to access it. However, this same widespread acceptance has resulted in the growth of telemedicine health care fraud. To protect their patients and their practice, health care providers should be able to identify telemedicine fraud.
What is telemedicine fraud?
Telemedicine fraud refers to any type of fraudulent activity that involves the use of telehealth. This particular type of health care fraud most commonly occurs in the following areas:
- False billing and coding
- Excessive medications
- Unnecessary opioid prescriptions
- Kickbacks for services
- Misrepresenting expertise or services
Ways health care providers can protect their practice
A recent enforcement action against health care fraud resulted in more than a billion dollars in alleged losses due to telemedicine fraud. As crackdowns on alleged telemedicine fraud grows, health care providers need to take steps to protect their practice and reputation. Consider the following steps to protect your practice against health care fraud claims.
- Make sure you bill appropriately when you only use audio for your visits.
- Always provided detailed documentation and use proper Medicare codes.
- Always authenticate the identities of patients.
- Pay attention to the state license requirements for telemedicine visits.
- If your patient does not attend, make sure the appointment is not charged.
The growing use of telehealth appointments provides benefits to health care providers and patients. As enforcement agencies take steps to reduce fraud associated with this new type of health care, providers need to take additional steps to protect themselves from allegations of fraud.