Medical Group Agrees to $850,000 Settlement to Resolve Allegations of False Dermatology Procedure Claims

Medical Group Agrees to $850,000 Settlement to Resolve Allegations of False Dermatology Procedure Claims Photo: KSTP/File

December 01, 2017 12:05 PM

A local medical group with offices in Burnsville, Edina, Orono and St. Cloud has agreed to pay $850,000 to the U.S. Government to settle allegations of false claims submitted to Medicare, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota announced Friday.

A release stated Skin Care Doctors, P.A. and its founder and CEO Michael J. Ebertz agreed to the settlement, which resolves a civil lawsuit brought by a whistleblower who had previously worked with Ebertz.

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The government alleges Skin Doctors and Ebertz submitted false claims for payment to the Medicare Program over a period between January of 2008 and December of 2015. The false claims were alleged to include billing Medicare for free samples of a phototherapy drug and upcoding office visits, lesion removal procedures and phototherapy services.

"Medicare is a public trust," assistant U.S. attorney Ann Bildsten said in a statement. "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."

But Anders Folk, an attorney for Skin Care Doctors and Ebertz, said the settlement agreement included no admission of liability, and that Ebertz and the medical group continue to deny the allegations made against them.

"The settlement agreement between Skin Care Doctors, Dr. Ebertz, the government, and the relator, reflects Skin Care Doctors' and Dr. Michael Ebertz's business decision to settle the outstanding disputes," a statement from Folk said.

"This settlement agreement allows Skin Care Doctors and Dr. Ebertz to focus on continuing to care for their patients and avoid the uncertainty and cost of litigation. Skin Care Doctors and Dr. Ebertz have cooperated with the government throughout the course of its investigation and have agreed to resolve this matter without any admission of liability.

"In fact, as part of the agreement, Skin Care Doctors and Dr. Ebertz deny all of the allegations asserted by the relator and the government. Skin Care Doctors and Dr. Ebertz have worked hard for 20 years to provide great care to their many patients and are grateful to have this matter resolved so that they may continue to do so."

 

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Frank Rajkowski

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