Florida Research Hospital Agrees To Pay More Than $19.5 Million To Resolve Liability Relating To Self-Disclosure Of Improper Billing For Clinical Trial Costs
Tampa, FL – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces a $4 million settlement with Dermatology Healthcare, LLC; Robert A. Norman, D.O, P.A.; Robert A. Norman, D.O.; and Carol Norman (collectively, Dermatology Healthcare).
As part of the settlement, the parties resolve allegations that Dermatology Healthcare violated the False Claims Act by submitting false claims to obtain millions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements for the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer with superficial radiation therapy.
According to the settlement agreement, from January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2016, the United States contended that Dermatology Healthcare: (1) failed to adequately supervise the administration of superficial radiation therapy, (2) up-coded claims for procedures related to superficial radiation therapy, and (3) over-utilized radiation simulations.
“Health care providers will be held accountable for the claims they submit to federal health care programs,” said U.S. Attorney Chapa Lopez. “As this settlement makes clear, our civil division continues to make healthcare fraud enforcement a core part of the mission of our office.”
“The rules are simple: bill government health programs only for services actually needed and provided. No more, no less,” said Shimon R. Richmond, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “We will continue to protect federal health care programs and beneficiaries by holding providers accountable.”
“The FBI is committed to working closely with our federal, state, and local partners to protect federally funded healthcare programs from abuse by providers,” said Eric W. Sporre Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Tampa Division. “Protection of these important programs is a shared responsibility which can best be accomplished with the support of an engaged community willing to bring these abuses to the attention of authorities.”
This settlement resulted from a coordinated effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the Florida Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Emden led the investigation.
This settlement concludes a lawsuit originally filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida by Theodore, A. Schiff, M.D, a dermatologist from Palm Beach County, Florida. Dr. Schiff filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act permitting a private citizen to sue on behalf of the United States for false claims and to share in the recovery. The Case is captioned United States of America and the State of Florida ex rel. Theodore A. Schiff, M.D. v. Robert A. Norman, D.O., et al., Case No. 8:15-cv-1506-T-23AEP (M.D. Fla.). The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.
The government’s action in this matter illustrates the emphasis on combating health care fraud, and one of the most powerful tools in this effort is the False Claims Act. Tips from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement can be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services, at 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477).