Four years ago, Gary Marder, MD, a dermatologist in west central Florida, was caught billing Medicare and TriCare for expensive treatments to treat benign conditions, such as warts and acne. Now, Marder faces charges of healthcare fraud, which could lead to a 10-year prison sentence.
Back in February Dr. Marder, who owns Allergy Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center, a practice located in Port St. Lucie and Okeechobee, Florida, paid a $5.2 million fine to settle the fraudulent Medicare bills. According to court documents, between January 2011 and January 2016, Marder had billed Medicare and TriCare, a health insurance program for military members and the families, for $369,000. In an effort to make the bills look official, Marder applied a fake signature from a non-existent physicist. In the summer of 2015, Marder also allegedly “falsified and altered” patient records.
However, Marder’s excessive Medicare billing practices goes back before the lawsuit. According to news reports, Marder had billed Medicare for $49 million between 2008 and 2014.
Ted Schiff, MD, another Palm Beach County dermatologist, initially filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Marder when Marder’s former patients started coming to see him with previous diagnoses of squamous cell cancer and stories of radiation treatments. When Schiff saw the lesions, he identified them as only benign freckles or warts.
Despite these allegations and the possibility of a prison sentence, Marder continues to see patients. He is currently being evaluated for possible substance abuse problems and mental health issues. Depending on the outcome of these assessments, his medical license could be revoked.