OIG warns that unsolicited telephone marketing to Medicare beneficiaries for Durable Medical Equipment remains unlawful

by Ben Vernia | January 18th, 2010

In an update to a 2003 special fraud alert, OIG-HHS has warned Durable Medical Equipment (DME) suppliers that marketing to Medicare beneficiaries through unsolicited telephone calls is unlawful except in certain narrow circumstances. The agency reported:

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has received credible information that some DME suppliers continue to use independent marketing firms to make unsolicited telephone calls to Medicare beneficiaries to market DME, notwithstanding the clear statutory prohibition. Suppliers cannot do indirectly that which they are prohibited from doing directly. OIG has also been made aware of instances when DME suppliers, notwithstanding the clear statutory prohibition, contact Medicare beneficiaries by telephone based solely on treating physicians’ preliminary written or verbal orders prescribing DME for the beneficiaries. A physician’s preliminary written or verbal order is not a substitute for the requisite written consent of a Medicare beneficiary.

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