Massachusetts physician indicted in $37M telemedicine kickback scheme 

A Massachusetts physician and three others have been indicted in an alleged seven-year, $37 million telemedicine fraud and kickback scheme, the Justice Department said Dec. 10. 

David Woroboff, George Willard and Randall Mills, all former high-level employees of a telemedicine company, and physician Le Thu, MD, are each being charged with one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to violate the federal Anti-Kickback Statute for allegedly operating a scheme that caused multimillion-dollar losses to Medicare, Tricare and private insurers. 

In 2014, the three executives allegedly began to use their company and its associated providers to write prescriptions for compounded medications and durable medical equipment that were not medically necessary for patients. Providers then received kickback payments, the Justice Department alleges. 

Providers who participated in the alleged scheme wrote prescriptions for patients without having an established provider-patient relationship, in violation of certain state telemedicine laws. Mr. Woroboff, Mr. Willard and Mr. Mills allegedly agreed to pay Dr. Thu about $35 per prescription, and Dr. Thu wrote prescriptions without speaking to patients in exchange for the payments, according to the indictment. 

Mr. Mills and Mr. Woroboff allegedly falsely told providers that nurses had already consulted with the patients, taken their medical histories and determined that the compounded medication or medical equipment were appropriate treatment plans, the Justice Department said. However, the nurses were located in the Philippines, were not registered to practice medicine in the U.S. and usually did not speak with patients, the indictment alleges. 

The Justice Department alleges that the telemedicine company executives were able to get patient information through representatives of marketing companies that paid the telemedicine company to generate prescriptions for compounded medications and durable medical equipment.


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