OCTOBER 19, 2023. Jena Medical Group, LLC (Jena Medical), and its principals Benjamin Weiss, Moishe Hoffman, and Dr. Jason Schultz have agreed to pay $1,724,986 to resolve claims that they violated the False Claims Act by submitting claims to Medicare and TRICARE for radiofrequency ablations (RFAs) that were not necessary, not performed by a qualified provider, or both.
From January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2020, Jena Medical allegedly performed medically unnecessary RFAs, used to treat a variety of conditions from tumors to chronic pain. They did so using an unqualified technician, whom patients were falsely led to believe was a doctor and qualified to perform their procedures. Jena Medical also washed and re-used catheters that were only meant for single use, ignoring proper medical protocols. These practices not only defrauded the government, but also put Medicare and TRICARE recipients at risk for harm. The U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida said, “Protecting Medicare and TRICARE patients is paramount … This civil settlement demonstrates our continuing commitment to hold accountable those who abuse the nation’s healthcare programs at the expense of the taxpayers.”
The settlement is the product of a lawsuit filed in the Middle District of Florida, by a whistleblower, Michael Lomonaco, Doctor of Nursing Practice and former employee of Jena Medical. For his bravery and efforts for serving as the relator in this case, Lomonaco will receive over $300,000 of the settlement amount or approximately 17%. In these whistleblower lawsuits, filed under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act, the relator is entitled to 15-25% of the government’s recovery in a qui tam False Claims Act settlement.
If you would like to report healthcare fraud, you can contact attorneys at Tycko & Zavareei LLP. Eva Gunasekera and Renée Brooker are former officials of the United States Department of Justice and prosecuted whistleblower cases under the False Claims Act. Renée served as Assistant Director at the United States Department of Justice, the office that supervises False Claims Act cases in all 94 United States District Courts. Eva was the Senior Counsel for Health Care Fraud. Eva and Renée now represent whistleblowers. For a free consultation, you can contact Renée at [email protected] (tel.: 202-417-3664) or contact Eva Gunasekera at [email protected]. You can also go to Tycko & Zavareei LLP’s website for whistleblowers to learn more at www.fraudfighters.net.