Settlement Reached In Medicare Fraud Lawsuit Against Tulsa Doctor And His Medical Clinic
TULSA, Okla.—United States Attorney Danny C. Williams Sr. for the Northern District of Oklahoma announced today that Jerome E. Block, M.D. and his clinic, Integrations Medical Clinic, have agreed to pay a total of $105,000 in civil penalties to settle allegations of submitting false Medicare claims to the United States.
A former employee of Dr. Block filed a qui tam civil lawsuit as a Relator, commonly known as a “Whistle Blower” complaint, in the name of the United States under the False Claims Act. The Complaint alleged that Dr. Block and his clinic violated Medicare regulations by permitting unlicensed personnel and staff to provide medical services to patients, such as taking and recording the patient’s history, including chief complaint and history of present illness, performing and recording the physical examination and performing and recording medical decision making. Thereafter, Dr. Block and his clinic submitted bills to Medicare for these services. Medicare regulations require that such services must be provided by a licensed physician or nurse practitioner to qualify for payment.
Under the False Claims Act, Dr. Block is subject to liability to the United States for civil penalties between $5,500 and $11,000 for each false claim plus three times the amount of actual damages that the United States sustained as a result of the false claims.
“This settlement demonstrates the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s commitment to combatting health care fraud. We will investigate and prosecute violators and those who abuse the system,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “We are dedicated to protecting taxpayer money and the integrity of Medicare. When health care providers try to increase their profits by misrepresenting the services they bill to taxpayer-funded health care programs, we will do our best to make sure that they are held accountable.”
Pursuant to the False Claims Act, the Relator in the case will receive the sum of $28,350 from the settlement. U.S. Attorney Williams commended the Relator for bringing the matter to the attention of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “We welcome and appreciate the assistance of the public in alerting us to instances where fraud is being perpetrated upon the taxpayers of the United States.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marianne Hardcastle handled the matter for the United States with the assistance of Patrick L. Bronaugh with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
For more information on Medicare fraud, visit the website at www.stopmedicarefraud.gov. To report Medicare Fraud, call 1(800)447-8477.