TAMPA, Fla. — A dermatologist in Tampa has agreed to pay the federal government $4 million dollars, after officials accused him of making false claims to get millions reimbursed in Medicare and Medicaid.
Sara Regenhard is not a patient of Dr. Robert Norman's but uses the pharmacy right next door to one of his many offices. She had actually considered using Dr. Norman, but not anymore.
"You put your faith into these people. They have a degree. You think they know what they are doing you turn round and wait a minute they are in trouble," said Regenhard. "I would not go! And I would tell other people to be aware."
Dr. Norman has been in trouble before. In December he heads to federal civil court on sexual allegations claims we first uncovered on Action News a year ago.
We also found the Massachusetts board revoked Norman's license after a similar sexual misconduct allegation in the late 1980s. And while he is trouble again, he is still licensed in Florida.
Late Tuesday night, Dr. Norman's attorney sent this response:
Dermatology Healthcare settled with the U.S. government for $4 million to avoid prolonged litigation. Dermatology Healthcare fully cooperated with a government investigation involving alleged False Claims Act violations and has agreed to a settlement without any admission of wrong doing. Dermatology Healthcare believes the allegations are without merit, as intent is an essential element of a false claim and without intent there is no false claim. Dermatology Healthcare would never intend to falsely bill their government.
These allegations mostly arose from previous employees using what Dermatology Healthcare believed were correct billing codes and a reasonable understanding of the applicable billing rules. Dermatology Healthcare agreed to settle and refund several years of billing that was all medically necessary and provided a much-needed service to its patients.
The quality of care was never challenged during this government investigation. Dermatology Healthcare believed due to the overwhelming costs to litigate against the US Government it was prudent to settle. Although it will take many years to repay, Dermatology Healthcare will continue to provide outstanding services as it has for over 25 years.
This is the press release sent from the government:
Dermatology Healthcare Agrees To Pay $4 Million In False Claims Act Settlement