Venice dermatologist Steven J. Wasserman will pay $26 million to the federal government for claims of Medicare fraud under the False Claims Act. It was alleged that he accepted illegal kickbacks from pathologist Jose SuarezHoyos, owner of Tampa Pathology Laboratory. Allegedly, Wasserman would send Medicare patients’ biopsy specimens for analysis and diagnosis to TPL. TPL would then send a report back to Wasserman with a diagnosis and a signature line for Wasserman to sign so Medicare would believe that he, not TPL, performed the diagnostic work. The government believed that this arrangement began in 1997 to increase the referral business of the laboratory. Under this agreement, Wasserman received over $6 million from Medicare.
In 2005, Wasserman’s two offices were raided and files confiscated. The federal government claimed that Wasserman performed thousands of skin surgeries and biopsies on Medicare patients that were needless. Jose SuarezHoyos and his laboratory had earlier settled allegations against them for $950,000. Pathologist Alan Freeman, federal lawsuit whistleblower in this matter, will receive $4 million of the settlement.
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