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HHS watchdog reiterates importance of preventing telemedicine fraud

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General recognized telehealth’s potential while cautioning that steps must be taken to ensure virtual care will not be compromised by fraud.

OIG Principal Deputy Inspector General Christi A. Grimm wrote in a statement on Friday that the quick pivot to telemedicine amidst the COVID-19 pandemic makes oversight, transparency, accountability and program integrity all the more important.

“OIG is conducting significant oversight work assessing telehealth services during the public health emergency. Once complete, these reviews will provide objective findings and recommendations that can further inform policymakers and other stakeholders considering what telehealth flexibilities should be permanent,” wrote Grimm.

WHY IT MATTERS

Grimm noted that for most people, telehealth expansion is viewed positively, given its potential to increase access, decrease burdens and enable better care.

She pointed to recent rulemaking in which OIG recognized the promise that digital health technologies, including telemedicine, have for improving care coordination and health outcomes.”Where telehealth and other remote access technologies were once a matter of convenience, the public health emergency made them a matter of safety for many beneficiaries,” wrote Grimm.Advocates applauded the statement, saying they were ready to work with the agency to ensure telehealth services […]

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