The coronavirus pandemic has brought unprecedented change to the telehealth industry. Health care providers are experiencing exponential growth in telehealth usage due to relaxed federal requirements and restrictions previously necessary to approve federal telehealth payments to health care providers for their services.
WHAT ARE TELEHEALTH AND TELEMEDICINE?
The terms telehealth and telemedicine are generally interchangeable and refer to health care services being distributed using the internet or other communication service. Telehealth allows a doctor to see a patient remotely using a webcam or cell phone. In the past, telehealth was primarily used in circumstances where a patient was unable to see a doctor in person due to distance, lack of transportation, or due to a health condition that makes travel impossible.
Telehealth was also generally viewed as gap filler allowing health care providers to provide care for patients while they are understaffed and waiting to return to full operation. Telehealth nursing, also known as telenursing, has experienced a similar increase in usage rate and has, in turn, also intensified the focus and examination on those administering telecare of any kind to their patients. This has led to an increase in accusations of misconduct and even raised questions if the services they provide are real health care services.
INCREASED GOVERNMENTAL FOCUS ON TELEHEALTH VIOLATIONS
With this boom in telehealth services usage, it has also opened the door to an increase in violations and fraud related to telehealth services. The Department of Justice recently announced a $6 billion health care fraud takedown, which resulted in more than 300 people being criminally charged. A significant portion of these cases involved telehealth-related fraud.
The federal and state governments are well aware of the boom in the usage of telehealth. They are allocating their resources to investigate and prosecute those that they believe are using the systems illegally. Health care providers should be even more careful and prudent during these times, ensuring that standards of care and ethics remain high.
While you may not be facing criminal charges for health care fraud, violations against your professional nursing license can have life-changing consequences. Any claim of misconduct, even if untrue, will start an investigation which can result in license discipline, a lawsuit, or even criminal charges against you. If you face allegations of misconduct against your nursing license, then it is important to speak to an experienced California nursing license defense attorney such as Scott J. Harris as soon as possible.
SJ HARRIS LAW FREE CONSULTATION
The S.J. Harris Law Office is proud to offer FREE 30-minute consultations to all prospective clients. We realize that professionals who are facing discipline against their licenses require representation that values discretion and privacy. Anything discussed during a consultation will be protected by attorney-client privilege even if you don’t hire us to represent you further. At S.J. Harris Law, we put our focus into preserving three things; your license, your reputation, and your future. Let our experience go to work for you today. Call us at (310) 361-8585 or contact us online for a free consultation.
This blog is meant to be informational. It is not meant to be all-encompassing legal advice. If you are facing a situation involving your professional license, seek counsel from a licensed attorney.