A Tampa doctor who blew the whistle on Medicare fraud will receive $4 million, the U.S. Justice Department announced recently.
Dr. Alan Freedman filed a 2004 lawsuit under the whistle-blower provision of the False Claims Act to call attention to an illegal kickback arrangement between a Venice dermatologist and Tampa Pathology Laboratory, dating back to 1997.
The dermatologist, Dr. Steven J. Wasserman, has now settled with the government. He agreed to pay $26.1 million to resolve the allegations.
In describing the kickback scheme, the government said Wasserman had entered into an arrangement with the Tampa lab and owner Dr. Jose SuarezHoyos, to increase the lab’s referral business. Wasserman sent biopsy specimens from Medicare patients to the lab for testing, and in return, the lab made it appear to Medicare that the dermatologist had performed diagnostic work. In other words, he billed Medicare for work he didn’t do.
He also performed thousands of unnecessary skin surgeries at the expense of Medicare, the government said.
The Justice Department characterized the $26.1 million settlement as “one of the largest with an individual under the False Claims Act in U.S. history.”
U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill weighed in with praise. “Schemes of this magnitude require extraordinary remedies, and we are proud to have reached such an outstanding resolution for the taxpayers and their health programs,” he said in a prepared statement released by the Justice Department.
If you know of any fraud on federal or state government and would like to become a whistleblower, contact Upton Law Firm today.