Local Dermatologist Pays $850,000 To Settle False Claims Act Allegations
Skin Care Doctors, P.A. and its CEO allegedly engaged in improper Medicare billing
Acting United States Attorney Gregory G. Brooker today announced that Skin Care Doctors, P.A. and its founder and CEO, Michael J. Ebertz, M.D. have agreed to pay $850,000 to the United States to resolve allegations of false claims submitted for certain dermatology procedures in violation of the False Claims Act (“FCA”).
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Bildtsen said, “Medicare is a public trust. This resolution against both the company and its CEO safeguards that trust and restores needed funds to Medicare. This Office is committed to taking necessary actions to rectify inflated billing to federal programs.”
The United States contended that between January 2008 and December 2015, Skin Care Doctors, P.A. ("SCD") and Michael J. Ebertz, M.D. (“Ebertz”) submitted false claims for payment to the Medicare Program. The billing in question spanned four different areas, including billing Medicare for free samples of a phototherapy drug and upcoding office visits, lesion removal procedures, and phototherapy services. As outlined in the settlement agreement, Ebertz and SCD will pay to the United States a settlement amount of $850,000.
The settlement resolves a civil lawsuit brought by a whistleblower, a doctor who formerly worked with Ebertz, under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act allows private parties to bring suit on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery. Such whistleblowers bring fraud schemes to light that might otherwise go undetected.
The case was handled by the Civil Frauds Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, with assistance from the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The case is United States of America and the State of Minnesota ex rel. Jeff Samuelson, M.D. v. Skin Care Doctors, P.A., and Michael J. Ebertz, M.D., 15-cv-3132 (SRN/BRT). The settlement resolved false claims allegations prior to any determination of liability.
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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600