Physician pays $26 million in false claims case

A Venice Florida dermatologist Steven J. Wasserman has agreed to pay $26.1 million to settle allegations that he violated the False Claims Act by accepting illegal kickbacks in a Medicare fraud scheme. He was accused of taking money from Tampa Pathology Laboratory and billing the Medicare program for medically unnecessary services. Œ

Wasserman was accused of sending biopsy specimens for Medicare patients to TPL for testing and diagnosis. TPL provided Wasserman a diagnosis and pathology report that included a signature line to make it seem to Medicare that he, not TPL performed the diagnostic work. Wasserman was accused of then billing Medicare for the labs work as if he performed it. He received more than $6 million in Medicare payments under the scheme. Œ

It was also alleged that he increased substantially the number of skin biopsies on Medicare patients and performed thousands of unnecessary skin surgeries known as adjacent tissue transfers to obtain Medicare reimbursement for them. The case was initiated by Alan Friedman a pathologist who formerly worked at TPL who will receive $4 million from the settlement. Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.