Search Site

Telehealth Services Increased Medicare Fraud

The COVID-19 pandemic made telehealth essential. With shutdowns across the country, people still needed medical care, and telehealth came to the rescue. The number of “virtual” physicians increased from zero to thousands overnight.

Unfortunately, telehealth makes it easier to commit fraud. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) encountered more schemes, which cost taxpayers millions. Here is how this problem developed and how it is addressed now.

Growth of a new problem

In 2019, 840,000 telehealth visits were billed to Medicare. That changed significantly with the panic. In 2022, there were 52,7 million visits.

The change was necessary. Telehealth reduced doctors’ exposure to COVID, and stay-at-home orders kept people out of doctor’s offices. Also, the overburdened health system needed a break, and telehealth seemed to be the perfect solution.

Unfortunately, telehealth increased fraudulent claims. Providers could prescribe expensive durable medical equipment without a physical visit. Patients and doctors took advantage of this loophole to receive larger payments and more benefits. Doctors frequently billed for visits that never occurred.

Addressing telehealth Medicare fraud

Even with COVID spread slowing, telehealth remains popular. Fraudulent claims have continued, but there are solutions.

The primary solution is whistleblowers. Whistleblowers (thanks to protection under the False Claims Act) helped recover over $40 billion in healthcare funds since 1986. For telehealth, the False Claims Act is responsible for recouping millions, including $24.5 million from a Florida provider group. The HHS is listening and encouraging people to come forward with claims.

Did you witness telehealth irregularities at your medical office? You may be able to receive an award through the False Claims Act and join the fight against fraud. For assistance, contact a whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group. We can help you plan your claim strategically and represent you if your employer retaliates.

Awards & Honors
Our Office
  • Dallas Office
    4514 Cole Ave
    Dallas, Texas 75205
    Phone: 214-306-8045
    Fax: 469-729-9926
As Seen In
In his new book, "Standing Up to China: How a Whistleblower Risked Everything for His Country," former client & Author, Ashley Yablon, quotes Attorney Steve Kardell about Whistelblower Law.
  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.