Department of Justice Announces National Enforcement Sweep of Genetic Testing Laboratories and Telemedicine Providers

Genetic testing and telemedicine targeting senior citizens and individuals with disabilities have been the subject of growing government scrutiny. Most recently, on September 27, 2019, the United States Department of Justice announced charges against nearly three-dozen individuals—across numerous federal judicial districts—allegedly responsible for more than $2.1 billion in Medicare billing losses, all of which stem from misconduct in the provision of genetic testing and telemedicine services.

According to the DOJ’s press release, the federal investigation uncovered a scheme in which cancer genetic testing laboratories paid kickbacks and bribes to healthcare providers in exchange for the referral of medically unnecessary services for Medicare beneficiaries. The government alleges that, in many instances, the tests were ordered by physicians who had no treating relationship with the patients and the results of the unnecessary tests were often withheld from the beneficiaries or their actual treating physicians. The DOJ also alleges that the defendants targeted seniors and individuals with disabilities. According to the government, the patients often received scripts for genetic testing from physicians with whom they had never interacted or had had only brief telephone conversations.

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

DOJ Using WWII-Era Act to Extend Statutes of Limitations

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department has invoked the 1948 Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (the “WSLA”) in an effort to aggressively extend and suspend statutes of limitations in alleged financial crimes.

Pursuant to the WSLA, “[w]hen the United States is at war…. the running of any statute of limitations applicable to any offense involving fraud … against the United States … shall be suspended until 5 years after the termination of hostilities. 18 U.S.C. § 3287(c).

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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