Almost every day I catch a suspicious fax requiring my signature. Often it’s an out-of-state supplier who wants my permission to provide a back brace for a diabetic patient, a continuous blood glucose monitor for a non-diabetic, or a compound (custom-made) ointment of some sort. that makes no sense of what I know about this patient’s story.

Often times I get a fax that appears to be from Walgreens, just asking me to sign and certify that such and such is under my responsibility. These faxes have the Walgreen logo, my patient’s correct address, and my own DEA and NPI numbers already printed. The problem is that 90% of my patients don’t use Walgreens 20 miles north or south of my clinic, but the local Rexall Pharmacy. I once called the phone number on the fax machine and it just rang and rang.

I have no doubts that this is just an illicit way to collect signatures from doctors, so scammers won’t even have to get my signature on one form at a time. That way it’s like they have their own rubber stamp to use over and over again.

I suspect that these scams are successful often enough to be profitable enough. I know this because I sometimes sign these forms almost automatically before I catch up and throw them in the shred box under my desk.

One of the many dirty little secrets in medicine is that doctors are given so many papers to sign that it’s actually impossible to read them all before jotting down our signature if we still want to see patients, meet income projections. clinic and match our own productivity. quotas.

I used to joke that the only type of paper in my clinic that I didn’t have to sign was toilet paper. Despite our computers, we have more papers than ever to sign. This is probably because everyone, like home health agencies, is using their computers to generate more and more pages that require our signature.

The really disturbing thing about these scams is that these providers are billing Medicare for things that doctors harass or inattentive unintentionally “order”. The fact that they can bill Medicare means that they are sort of entitled to do so.

So it must be far too easy to qualify for a place in Medicare trough.

Hans Duvefelt is a rural family physician born in Sweden in Maine. This article originally appeared on his blog, A Country Doctor Writes, here.

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