Doctor Pleads Guilty to Obstructing Telemedicine Investigation

U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Arkansas, Sept. 25, 2020

LITTLE ROCK – A Dallas-area doctor pled guilty this afternoon to obstructing a federal health care investigation. Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Michael C. Mentavlos, Special Agent in Charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service Southwest Field Office, Patrick Roche, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General South Central Field Office, Miranda L. Bennett, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Little Rock Field Office, announced Dr. Lorraine De Blanche, 56, pled guilty this afternoon before U.S. District Judge Brian S. Miller.

Patient complaints and a surge in claims for durable medical equipment (DME) and compounded prescription drugs triggered investigations into telemedicine fraud targeting federal insurers, including TRICARE, CHAMPVA, and Medicare. This prompted federal investigators to speak with medical providers linked to related DME claims and prescriptions.

In March 2019, Special Agents from DCIS and VA-OIG interviewed Dr. De Blanche about her work for telemedicine companies in 2015 and 2016, while she was practicing in Little Rock. During the interview she acknowledged working for the companies at issue but willfully misled agents about her telemedicine consultations. Dr. De Blanche reported she always evaluated patients by telephone before determining whether or not compounded prescription drugs or DME were needed. As Dr. De Blanche would later admit, however, on repeated occasions she ordered the products without first consulting patients.

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