Attorney General Bonta Announces Near $500,000 Settlement with Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon Accused of Medical Fraud | California – DOJ

Auckland — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced a settlement with a Los Angeles-based plastic surgeon accused of defrauding Medical, California’s Medicaid program, out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Dr. Joel Aronowitz allegedly overcharged Medi-Cal for skin grafts and skin wound treatments over a six-year period, resulting in an estimated $248,809 in damages to California taxpayer funds. there is He will pay the state double that amount, $497,619, to settle the allegations against him.

“The Medi-Cal system is a lifeline that provides access to free or affordable health care for millions of Californians.” said Attorney General Bonta.. “If the bad guys abuse it or scam it, it will drain the funds that would allow people with limited income and resources to get the health care they need. The California Department of Justice will not tolerate Medi-Cal fraud, we will take back all the money we stole from hardworking taxpayers and hold the bad guys accountable.”

Dr. Aronowitz ran Santa Monica’s Tower Wound Care Center, which provides wound care services to Medi-Cal recipients in the Los Angeles area. Investigators found that he illegally used Medicare and Medical reimbursement from 2015 to 2021 by claiming wound care procedures that were actually performed at a doctor’s hospital as if they were performed at an ambulatory surgery center. Found evidence of being involved in a fraudulent billing scheme designed to uplift. Aronowitz’s infirmary. It then recycles the unused portion of the “disposable” skin replacement product and bills it as if it were new and unopened. These actions violated the California False Claims Act and resulted in his $248,809 net loss to Medi-Cal funds.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Dr. Aronowitz will pay the State of California “double damages” of $497,619 for Medi-Cal’s losses. The investigation and settlement negotiations were jointly conducted by the California Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Under the settlement, the federal government will recover its share of Medicare program losses and Medicaid losses separately.

The Department of Justice’s Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse Division (DMFEA) protects Californians by investigating and prosecuting those who defraud the Medi-Cal program.

DMFEA will receive 75% of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with grants totaling $53,792,132 for the 2022-2023 federal fiscal year. The remaining 25% will be funded by the State of California. The federal fiscal year is defined as October 1, 2022 through September 30, 2023.

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and no determination of liability has been made.

A copy of the settlement agreement can be found here.

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