July 16, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Medical Clinic Named in $24M Plastic Surgery Settlement

Tower Wound Care Center of Santa Monica Inc. Was Named as One of Several Entities That Falsified the Place of Service and Fraudulent Billing in an Almost $24 Million Settlement.

By Zach Armstrong

Tower Wound Care Center of Santa Monica Inc. was named as one of several entities that falsified the place of service and fraudulent billing in an almost $24 million settlement involving a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. 

The $23.9 million settlement resolved allegations that the Santa Monica center along with Dr. Joel Aronowitz; Daniel Aronowitz; Joel A. Aronowitz, M.D. medical corporation; Tower Multi-Specialty Medical Group, Tower Outpatient Surgery Center Inc. and Tower Medical Billing Solutions falsified the place of service for skin grafts and billed single-use skin substitute products multiple times.

The U.S. believes the parties increased reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid by manipulating the place of service code on skin graft claims. It also contends Dr. Aronowitz didn’t dispose of skin graft materials so they could be used in procedures for other Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. This led to thousands of instances of double billing.

Those actions violated the False Claims Act by submitting false claims to both Medicare and Medicaid.

“When health care providers violate federal health care program requirements, they undermine the integrity of these programs and waste taxpayer dollars,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in a release. “This settlement demonstrates the Department’s commitment to preventing providers from misappropriating public funds for their own private gain.”

Dr. Aronowitz and Tower Multi-Specialty Medical Group have been voluntarily excluded from Medicare, Medicaid and all other federal health care programs for 15 years. Daniel Aronowitz, his son, is excluded for three.

Because the state of California paid for a portion of the Medicaid claims, it will receive approximately $497,619 from the settlement.

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