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How short is too short? Telemedicine appointments and healthcare fraud.

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2022 | Health Care Investigations, Physicians And Group Practices |

We became much more comfortable with technology during the pandemic. Stay at home orders forced us to work remotely, using laptops and home systems to log on and join meetings. Our kids attended classes from home, we even started streaming new movies directly to our home theater systems instead of having to go out to the cinema.

Another advance was increased reliance on telehealth. Use of software to meet with a physician remotely, while the patient remains in the comfort of their own home, was not a new offering but it was one that we became much more reliant on during the worst of the pandemic. These appointments allow patients to touch base with physicians and deal with concerns that may not require a physical visit. We could just log on, ask our questions, and log off.

But how long of a visit is sufficient? When does a medical professional really have enough information to make an informed decision about patient care? That is the question at the heart of a recent government indictment that accuses a New York surgeon of healthcare fraud.

According to the indictment, the physician would have brief conversations with patients before determining if they could benefit from the use of an orthotic brace. The government argues these short conversations were not sufficient to support a finding that the brace was a medical necessity. As a result, they have charged him with healthcare fraud. If convicted, he faces up to ten years imprisonment.

This case is yet another example of the importance of keeping clear records. Those who face similar allegations but have records to support their finding of medical necessity can likely build a strong defense. This is just one example that should be considered when building a defense to these types of allegations. An attorney experienced in this niche area of healthcare law can review the allegations and discuss your options.

Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication

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