Minnesota dermatologist to pay $850,000 to settle Medicare fraud claim

- A Minnesota dermatologist has agreed to pay $850,000 to the United States to resolve allegations that he and his practice engaged in improper Medicare building. 

According to the United States District Attorney’s office, between January 2008 and December 2015, Skin Care Doctors, P.A. and its founder and CEO Dr. Michael J. Ebertz submitted false claims for payment to the Medicare program. 

Dr. Jeff Samuelson, a partner in the practice, first blew the whistle. He noticed Ebertz was over billing Medicare for a variety of procedures, including lesion removal.

“After a while he began to look at the medical records and notice that Dr. Ebertz was not only removing these lesions, but was also billing Medicare for them,” said David Scher, Samuelson's attorney.

Samuelson’s attorney told Fox 9 Medicare only pays for the procedures if the lesions are malignant. Despite the fact most were benign, Ebertz would allegedly mark them as cancerous, making money in the process.

Ebertz and SCD were also accused of billing Medicare for free samples of a phototherapy drug and upcoding office visits and photo therapy service. 

Samuelson quit the practice in 2014 and filed a lawsuit in 2015. On Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced a settlement that Ebertz and his company agreed to repay the taxpayers $850,000. 

“Medicare is a public trust. This resolution against both the company and its CEO safeguards that trust and restores needed funds to Medicare,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Bildtsen said in a statement. “This Office is committed to taking necessary actions to rectify inflated billing to federal programs.”

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