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Continued DOJ Scrutiny for Telemedicine Physicians

Since the Department of Justice filed charges in April 2019 against 24 telemedicine and durable medical equipment (“DME”) company executives and physicians for their alleged participation in a $1.2 billion healthcare fraud scheme, telemedicine physicians continue to find themselves uncomfortably situated in the DOJ’s cross-hairs. 

Despite the real-time benefits of telemedicine and its increasing growth—December 2018 figures from the American Medical Association approximate that 15% of physicians work in practices that use telemedicine for patient interactions—telemedicine physicians doing telemedicine work faced continued scrutiny as well as confusion surrounding the legal requirements of doing telemedicine work. 

The DOJ’s focus thus far on prosecuting physicians has been focused in large part to those doing DME telemedicine work. This was the focus of the April 2019 takedown, and has been the focus of recent indictments like the one against New York anesthesiologist Anna Steiner. Steiner was arraigned in July on an indictment charging her in a telemedicine healthcare fraud conspiracy related to DME and prescription drugs, alleging she signed prescriptions and order forms for DME and drugs for patients whom she had not examined and evaluated, and for items that were not medically necessary.

Given the DOJ’s persistent focus on telemedicine entities and physicians doing telemedicine work, increased enforcement is likely here to stay. Though a primary focus thus far has been on DME, it is likely the DOJ will continue to expand its focus to other emerging telemedicine practices, including genetic testing. 

© Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in California

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About this Author

Brian F. McEvoy, Polsinelli PC, Atlanta, white collar criminal defense lawyer, health care fraud matters attorney
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Brian McEvoy is an accomplished litigator with a well-earned reputation for working tirelessly to achieve the best outcomes for clients and for thinking creatively and strategically to resolve difficult problems with efficiency and professionalism. Brian is a former federal prosecutor with a practice focus on white collar criminal defense and a special emphasis in health care fraud matters. During his service as a federal prosecutor, he received special commendation from the Department of Health and Human Services by receiving the Inspector General's Integrity Award for...

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As a shareholder in the Government Investigations practice, Brian Rafferty leverages a distinguished background serving as Chief of the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia. In his more than ten years of experience as a federal prosecutor, Brian oversaw and managed some of the most high-profile and complex investigations in the Southern District of Georgia. Before his work as a federal prosecutor, Brian was a partner at white collar criminal litigation boutique in New York, where he represented individuals in government investigations.  Brian draws upon his deep understanding of the inner workings of enforcement authorities to represent clients facing regulatory and criminal enforcement actions. Leveraging his extensive experience and sound judgment, Brian constructs comprehensive strategies to defend entities and individuals facing government investigations and enforcement proceedings.

Brian focuses his practice on defending clients in a multitude of white collar defense, internal investigations and complex federal litigation matters. He provides prospective guidance to mitigate and ensure compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations. His work spans an array of industries with a particular focus on health care fraud, government contracting, and financial industries.

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Paige Ayres Nutini Government Investigations Attorney
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As a member of Polsinelli’s Government Investigations practice, Paige assists clients in all aspects of white collar criminal defense and internal corporate investigations. Working to understand each client’s unique situation, she helps guide clients through government inquiries to find solutions that align to business strategies.

Prior to joining Polsinelli, Paige served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable William L. Campbell, Jr., United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Paige also practiced as an attorney in the Nashville office of an international...

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