Doctor agrees in $26.1 million fraud settlement

Doctor accused of performing unnecessary surgeries to pay up

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MIAMI - A southwest Florida dermatologist has agreed to pay $26.1 million to settle Medicare fraud allegations.

The U.S. Justice Department announced Dr. Steven J. Wasserman's settlement Monday.

Officials say Wasserman entered into an illegal kickback arrangement in or around 1997 with Tampa Pathology Laboratory and its owner, Dr. Jose Suarez Hoyos, in an effort to increase the lab's referral business. Wasserman was also accused of performing thousands of unnecessary skin surgeries known as adjacent tissue transfers on Medicare beneficiaries in order to obtain the reimbursement for them, not because they were medically necessary.

Dr. Alan Freedman, a former Tampa Pathology Laboratory who brought forth the initial allegations, will receive about $4 million of the settlement.

Officials previously settled with SuarezHoyos and Tampa Pathology Laboratory for $950,000.

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