Foley & Lardner LLP Partner Judith Waltz is quoted in the article, "Sanford Health Settles Telehealth Case Over One Physician; It Disclosed Reportable Event,” in the Report on Medicare Compliance, published by the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA), on a settlement about telemedicine services with the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG).
Waltz said it is noteworthy the settlement includes claims submitted to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), as the COVID-19 uninsured program is not traditionally thought of in terms of a federal health care program, but it satisfies the statutory definition of direct funding from the U.S. government.
“Given the huge amounts of money paid out by HRSA during COVID, this may become the big new area for OIG recoveries,” Waltz said. “Also, the fact that this involved HRSA COVID money rebuts a popular theory that the government will be more forgiving because some lapse in compliance was a COVID issue.”
Waltz said the settlement also highlighted “easy” ways telehealth can go wrong, including the use of the wrong modality.
She added, “The settlement underscores that monitoring and self-disclosure obligations continue when an entity is under a [corporate integrity agreement]. This one was reported as a reportable event (not the self-disclosure protocol) but still resulted in a penalty.”
Waltz is the co-chair of the firm’s Health Care Practice Group and Health Care Industry Team.