Arkansas physician pleads guilty to obstructing telemedicine investigation: 4 details 

A physician in Arkansas has pleaded guilty to obstructing a federal healthcare investigation into telemedicine fraud and faces up to five years in prison, according to a Sept. 25 Department of Justice news release. 

Four details: 

1. When interviewed in March 2019, Lorraine De Blanche, MD, admitted that she misled federal investigators about her work for telemedicine companies in 2015 and 2016 while practicing in Little Rock, Ark. 

2. The officials were investigating patient complaints and a surge in claims for durable medical equipment and compound prescription drugs as part of a telemedicine fraud scheme targeting federal insurers including Medicare and Tricare.  

3. During the investigation interview, Dr. De Blanche said she did work for the telemedicine companies in question but told the federal agents that she always evaluated patients by phone before determining whether they needed durable medical equipment or compounded prescriptions. She then later admitted on repeated occasions that she ordered the products first without consulting patients. 

4. Dr. De Blanche was ordered to forfeit $33,000 in telemedicine proceeds and pay a $180,000 fine to the federal government. Her sentencing hearing has not been set. 

More articles on telehealth: 
17 patient care organizations ink principles for telehealth regulations
NYC Health + Hospitals launches telemedicine program for non-urgent services
13 things to know about Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare's virtual care strategies

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