Advocates are pressing the U.S. Congress to pass legislation to require more Medicare coverage of telehealth and telemedicine, but the Office of Inspector General (OIG) continues to report instances of fraud in this area. OIG reported July 24 that government attorneys had forced a guilty plea out of a telemedicine provider who has agreed to pay $44 million to deal with charges of fraud perpetrated over a period of three and a half years.
The U.S. Office of Inspector General (OIG) reported June 28 that it had launched a series of enforcement actions against perpetrators of a variety of forms of health care fraud, including in the areas of telemedicine and opioid abuse. The 78 individuals arraigned in this crackdown are said to be responsible for $2.5 billion.
Proponents of telehealth have been pressing Congress to statutorily broaden coverage of telehealth since before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Telehealth Expansion Act of 2023 carries the weight of at least some of these expectations. The House Ways and Means Committee’s health subcommittee recently voted 30-12 to pass along the legislation to the full committee, but the bill operates principally to allow high-deductible health plans to cover telehealth benefits before the enrollee has met the deductible, leaving a substantial amount of telehealth terrain unaddressed.