https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/fed ... brace-scam
Telemarketers would reach out to seniors offering “free” orthopedic braces, also touted through television and radio ads. Beneficiaries who expressed interest would be patched through to call centers involved in the scheme. Officials described an “international telemarketing network” with call centers in the Philippines and throughout Latin America.
The call centers would verify seniors’ Medicare coverage and transfer them to telemedicine companies for consultations with doctors.
“The telemedicine we are talking about is basically a tele-scam,” said Gary Cantrell, who oversees fraud investigations for the HHS inspector general’s office. “We are not talking about the use of advanced technology to provide better access to care.”
The doctors would write prescriptions for orthopedic braces, regardless of whether the patients needed them or not. In some cases several braces were prescribed for the same patient.
The call centers would collect prescriptions and sell them to medical equipment companies, which would ship the braces to beneficiaries and bill Medicare. Medical equipment companies would get $500 to $900 per brace from Medicare and would pay kickbacks of nearly $300 per brace.