Telehealth, or telemedicine, is a growing trend in today’s technologically driven society. The importance of virtual options has heightened with precautions for and responses to COVID-19.
However, there are some who use the communication medium for fraudulent purposes. In 2019 the federal government uncovered five major telehealth schemes which involved over $1 billion dollars in losses. The hunt for others has only picked up steam.
While healthcare fraud comes in many forms, illegal kickbacks, improper referrals, and Medicare scams are predominant areas of fraud in telemedicine. These fraudulent practices cost patients and the government money, but also lead to the possibility of having patients’ medical records illegally shared with third parties. For example, one 2019 scheme was found to have illegally gathered insurance information to create prescriptions for patients around the country.