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Spokane, WA – Former physician Jason A. Dreyer has agreed to pay $1,174,849 to resolve allegations that he performed medically unnecessary neurosurgery procedures that Dreyer caused to be billed to Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health care programs, announced Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington. The joint settlement announced today is between Dreyer, the United States, and the State of Washington, which administers Washington’s Medicaid program using a combination of state and federal funding.
Between 2013 and 2018, Dreyer was employed as a neurosurgeon at Providence St. Mary’s Medical Center, a hospital in Walla Walla, Washington, owned and operated by Providence Health & Services Washington (Providence). In April 2022, United States Attorney Waldref announced that Providence agreed to pay $22,690,458 to resolve allegations that it fraudulently billed Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health care programs for medically unnecessary neurosurgery procedures performed by Dreyer and another former Providence neurosurgeon. In the Providence settlement agreement, Providence admitted that, while Dreyer was employed at Providence St. Mary’s, Providence received concerns about Dreyer, including concerns from medical staff that Dreyer was endangering the safety of his patients. As admitted in the Providence settlement agreement, notwithstanding these concerns, Providence permitted Dreyer to resign without reporting him to the National Practitioner Data Bank or the Washington State Department of Health.
“Ensuring that surgical procedures are medically appropriate and properly performed is critical to building safe and strong communities here in the Eastern District of Washington,” said United States Attorney Waldref. “Patients with spinal injuries and back pain deserve top-notch care from a doctor who puts patients and their safety first. Significantly, as part of the settlement, Dr. Dreyer has agreed to voluntarily exclude himself from federal health care programs nationwide for at least nine years. This settlement will therefore make sure that patients, in Eastern Washington and nationwide, are protected from medically unnecessary and unsafe procedures for many years to come.”
After resigning from Providence, between May 2019 and November 2021, Dreyer was employed by Multicare Health Systems (Multicare) to provide neurosurgery services at Deaconess Hospital and Multicare Rockwood Clinic, both in Spokane, Washington. Both Providence and Multicare paid Dreyer based on a productivity metric through which he was paid more for performing more surgeries and for surgical procedures of greater complexity. The settlement announced today resolved allegations that, while employed by Multicare, Dreyer caused false and fraudulent billing to Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health care programs by performing medically unnecessary procedures that did not meet requirements for federal and state reimbursement.
As part of the settlement, Dreyer entered into an exclusion agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). As part of this agreement, Dreyer agreed to be excluded from participating in Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health care programs nationwide for at least nine years before he can request reinstatement from HHS.
"Providers have a responsibility to ensure that patient needs and safety, not illegitimate personal financial gain, drive medical decisions," said Steven J. Ryan, Special Agent in Charge at the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). "As this settlement demonstrates, HHS-OIG is committed to protecting federal health care programs from fraudulent billing and ensuring that providers focus on providing medically necessary care."
"The announced settlement and exclusion agreements are constructive steps in holding Dr. Dreyer responsible for repeatedly violating his patients' trust by valuing financial gain more than patient care and safety," said Bryan D. Denny, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Western Field Office. "DCIS remains committed to working with its law enforcement partners in protecting the integrity of the DoD's TRICARE healthcare program, especially in situations involving allegations of potential patient harm."
“VA’s Community Care programs provide veterans and their families the ability to obtain critical healthcare services from providers within their own communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Jason Root of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s Northwest Field Office. “This civil settlement reinforces the VA OIG’s commitment to safeguarding the integrity of VA’s healthcare programs and operations and preserving taxpayer funds."
“I appreciate our strong partnership with U.S. Attorney Waldref’s office,” said Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “I look forward to continuing our work together to protect Medicaid dollars for those who need them.”
United States Attorney Waldref continued “I want to express special appreciation for our close collaboration and partnership with the Washington Medicaid Fraud Control Division and for the exceptional investigative work performed by HHS-OIG, Office of Personnel Management OIG, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Department of Veterans Affairs OIG. We will continue to work closely with our state and federal law enforcement partners to hold health care fraudsters accountable and to protect patient health and safety in the Eastern District of Washington.”
The settlement was the result of a joint investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington; the State of Washington, Office of the Attorney General, Medicaid Fraud Control Division; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Seattle Field Office, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Seattle Field Office; the Office of Personnel Management, Office of Inspector General, Western Regional Office, and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, Spokane Resident Agency. The United States Attorney’s Office would also like to express special thanks and appreciation for the logistical support provided by the Walla Walla Police Department during the investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Dan Fruchter and Tyler H.L. Tornabene of the Eastern District of Washington handled this matter on behalf of the United States.
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