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Oberheiden Attorneys

The Pitfalls of Telemedicine

Categories: Health Care Law

Federal Healthcare Fraud Defense Attorneys - Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP
Dr. Nick Oberheiden, Esq.
www.federal-lawyer.com
Direct: (214) 469-9009
(1-800-810-0259
Including Weekends

Our firm represents healthcare providers from across the United States that find themselves in the middle of a federal investigation due to their telemedicine practice. The following is a brief summary of the risks associated with telehealth and telemedicine for practicing physicians. Physicians and other healthcare providers interested in more information should talk to one of our former federal healthcare prosecutors and experienced counsel directly— in a free and confidential consultation.

Who We Are

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP is a healthcare fraud defense law firm. Our attorneys are among the most demanded healthcare defense lawyers when it comes to helping physicians and healthcare executives with questions about regulatory compliance, healthcare fraud defense, and government audits. Our team includes former senior officials from the Department of Justice and attorneys with a proven track record of successfully resolving healthcare investigations.

Recent Case Outcomes:

  • Medicare Fraud Investigation against Physician (Department of Justice, OIG)
    Result: No civil or criminal liability, case dismissed.
  • Medicare Fraud Investigation against Laboratory (S. Attorney’s Office)
    Result: No civil or criminal liability, case dismissed.
  • Tricare Fraud Investigation against Marketers (Department of Defense)
    Result: No civil or criminal liability, case dismissed.
  • Tricare Fraud Investigation against Healthcare Provider (OIG, Dpt Of Defense)
    Result: No civil or criminal liability, case dismissed.
  • DOL Fraud Investigation against Compound Pharmacy (S. Postal Service)
    Result: No civil or criminal liability, case dismissed.
  • Investigation against Healthcare Marketing Group (Department of Justice)
    Result: No civil or criminal liability, case dismissed.
  • Investigation against Healthcare Provider (Department of Health and Human Services)
    Result: No civil or criminal liability, case dismissed.

Telemedicine Scenarios

In the cases that we were hired, young doctors, fresh out of medical school, and seasoned doctors, with a desire for ancillary income, were approached by marketing companies to treat telemedicine patients for extra income. While the idea of utilizing modern technology appeared tempting, these physicians were simply not aware of the rigid regulatory rules and the limitations in providing telemedicine services. In particular, the physicians underestimated the risks associated with telemedicine practices when the consultation spanned different states (e.g. doctor in NY, patient in NJ) or when the medical services addressed patients in states, in which the physician was not licensed to practice medicine. Further, we have seen a push to prescribe lucrative compound pharmacy products through telemedicine in violation of state and federal laws.

The Pitfalls of Telemedicine

It is no exaggeration to say that, from a legal perspective, telemedicine presents itself as a judicial landmine. Explosions lurk everywhere and extra carefulness is in order. In our practice of representing healthcare providers in telemedicine investigations, we have noticed that the following reasons are among the most common grounds for the federal government to open an investigation against the participating physician:

  • Treatment of patients from states, in which the physician is not licensed.
  • Illegal compound pharmacy prescriptions.
  • Unauthorized practice of medicine.
  • Violations of the procedures of how to conduct telemedicine.
  • Prescription abuse.
  • Illegal remuneration between physician and marketing group.
  • Telemedicine across state borders (federal jurisdiction).
  • Telemedicine practice that involves Medicare, Tricare, Medicaid, Department of Labor patients in violation of existing federal rules.

What Happens in a Telemedicine Investigation?

Most of our clients first find out that they could possibly have done something wrong by participating in telemedicine when agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) show up at the physician’s office to interview the doctor— or when providers receive a subpoena for documents issued by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) or the Department of Justice (DOJ). In either scenario, the physician should immediately contact an experienced attorney that knows how to avoid criminal charges. In fact, it is our experience that in many cases, early intervention of attorneys profoundly familiar with telemedicine and healthcare fraud defense strategies can save the healthcare provider from becoming a target and from being named a defendant in a criminal healthcare conspiracy.

Contact Our Team

If you are practicing telemedicine and want to make sure you are not breaking the law or if you are aware of an investigation against you, you should speak with our former Department of Justice healthcare prosecutors and experienced healthcare fraud defense attorneys to assess your situation:

  • Lynette S. Byrd (Former Federal Prosecutor for Healthcare Fraud, U.S. Attorney’s Office, NDTX)

Call us today and speak directly with one of our experienced attorneys at (800) 810-0259.

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP
Healthcare Law Defense
Former Federal Prosecutors and Experienced Defense Attorneys
(800) 810-0259
(214) 469-9009
www.federal-lawyer.com

This information has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information may constitute attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Reading of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee similar future outcomes. Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP is a Texas LLP with headquarters in Dallas. Mr. Oberheiden limits his practice to federal law.

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