The Better Business Bureau (BBB), a private nonprofit organization focused on creating an ethical marketplace based on seller/buyer’s trust, issued an alert for consumers regarding a telehealth company.
According to the alert, Doctor Alexa, a Denton-based telehealth company that claims to provide online doctor visits even without insurance, has failed to respond to customers’ claims alleging they were not provided with the services they paid for.
The BBB grants accreditation to companies based on ratings representing how likely a business is to interact with customers. In June 2022, the bureau revoked Doctor Alexa’s accreditation after it failed to respond to 24 out of 46 complaints filed on the BBB’s website, of which 44 were filed within the last 12 months.
According to the Dallas Observer, complaints about the company’s services come from 19 states. Almost all claims filed tell the same story. “I requested prescription help from Dr. Alexa, was charged $49.00 TWICE, yet have not received any help at all from anyone. Tried calling over ten times and was told no one is available to take my call EVERY SINGLE TIME. I want my money back,” said one customer.
The bureau says clients allege that the company charged them for a consultation with a healthcare professional and never sent the prescriptions to the pharmacy for their treatment, others never had a doctor’s appointment in the first place and many complain that they were unable to communicate with anyone in the company.
Since the pandemic made telemedicine more prevalent, healthcare-related scams flourished. According to Reed Smith, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a special fraud alert last July warning healthcare providers such as pharmacies, equipment providers and laboratories to keep away from telemedicine companies with seven characteristics that present a heightened risk of fraud.
The same day the OIG published the alert, the Department of Justice announced criminal charges against companies all across the country for more than $1.2 billion “in alleged fraudulent telemedicine, cardiovascular and cancer genetic testing, and durable medical equipment (DME) schemes.”
Monica Horton, a spokesperson for the BBB told the Dallas Observer that between 2019 and 2021 the bureau received over 300 complaints in the telemedicine category alone. “Ironically in 2019 we did not have a category for telemedicine,” Horton said.
The BBB recommends that patients speak directly with their doctors or insurance providers to choose telemedicine companies and to check the bureau’s website to find trustworthy businesses before contracting services.