Victim of Fraud?
Society for the Prevention of Online Diagnostic Abuse (SPODA)
Actions We Are Taking
This week we have filed for the revocation of licenses to practice for five mental health professionals.
This week we have filed an injunction on one mental health profession in Louisiana.
Next week we will be filing notices and complaints with the Attorney Generals in Louisiana, Florida, Michigan, and California for online medical fraud by various online companies.Current Scams:
Emotional Support AnimalsAre you a patient and a victim of fraudulent online diagnostic abuse? CLICK HERE Are you a landlord and a victim of fraudulent online diagnostic abuse? CLICK HERE
There are many online companies that advertise that they can provide you with a mental health diagnosis that will allow you to live with your animal. However, you must be careful. Here is how to spot the scam:
Is it an online-only form to fill out?
If so, it is a scam. All states require an interaction with the mental health professional. Online only is not only unethical but may also be a felony.
Is the letter from an out of state doctor?
If so, it is a scam. Any mental health professional that diagnoses a person across state lines without that state's proper licensing is not only violating the scope of their license, they are now making you a party to the scam when you show the letter to a landlord or airline.
Was a second appointment made for you by the company?
You must have an ongoing relationship with the mental health professional in order for the letter to meet federal guidelines. If your second appointment is not made, you do not have an ongoing relationship and your diagnosis is a scam.
Is the site requiring registration in order to affect your rights?
If you are truly disabled, your rights are automatic. Registering your animal does not give you the rights. Enforcement of your rights are available for you and your Emotional Support Animal when a proper letter (two-way communication, ongoing relationship, and mental health professional is licensed in your state) is given to the landlord. If you are required to register an animal, then the site is a scam.
Does the online company have legal support and/or live customer service?
This is an investment for legitimate online companies. Know what services you are getting for your money. No legal support and no live customer services are another sign of a suspect company.
Are you a patient and a victim of fraudulent online diagnostic abuse? CLICK HERE
Are you a landlord and a victim of fraudulent online diagnostic abuse? CLICK HERE
You may be part of diagnostic fraud and not even know it. There are many online fraudulent websites that are “diagnosing” patients with mental and emotional disabilities with a questionnaire but no personal interaction with a mental health professional. As a result, many states are cracking down of “Service Dog Fraud”. “Service Dog Fraud” includes therapy animals and Emotional Support Animals (ESAs). As of March 2018, there are 22 states with both criminal and civil penalties for “Service Dog Fraud” according to Michigan State University Animal Legal & Historical Center. This includes jail time and hefty fines.
Remember that a service dog has its own strict definition and guidelines from ADA. For Therapy Animals and ESAs, getting a proper diagnosis with a state licensed mental health professional using synchronous communication is the best way to avoid being caught up in “Service Dog Fraud”. Look for online sites that will put you in touch with an independent properly licensed mental health professional. Look to see if you can speak with a customer service representative. Online-only transactions are suspect. Ask if you will be able to personally speak with the mental health professional and what state(s) are they licensed in. Make sure they are licensed in your state. These simple steps will help you from becoming involved in “Service Dog Fraud”
USSERVICEANIMALS.org has become the first online company to commit and adhere to the SPODA CODE OF ONLINE ETHICS AND CONDUCT. They have passed their evaluation with flying colors. They have earned the right to use SPODA’s logo on their website as a sign to consumers and the service and therapy animal industry that USSERVICEANIMALS.org is operating at highest standards in assisting people who have a genuine need to speak with properly licensed mental health professionals in their state.
Telemedicine for the prescribing of controlled substances via online pharmacies are ripe for abuse. So much so that Congress passed the Ryan Haight Online Consumer Protection Act. The act requires that a patient have at least met with his/her state licensed physician at least once in person. Therefore, if you are being diagnosed with an online questionnaire, then you are at risk for a dangerous and incomplete diagnosis. If you speak to a physician licensed in another state or worse internationally, that physician who engages in the unauthorized practice of medicine under state law to be someone who is not acting in the usual course of his or her professional practice. The physician is NOT allowed to give you a prescription whether online or not. More importantly, you may be given a prescription that you do not need, the wrong prescription, or a prescription pas its effective date or of suspect quality.
STATES THAT CAN PRESCRIBE MEDICINE VIA TELEMEDICINE
As of 2017, only Ohio, Delaware, Florida, New Hampshire, Indiana, Hawaii, and West Virginia allow their physicians to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine. But ONLY under limited circumstances. Continue Reading...
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