Federal officials have announced a plastic surgeon in Des Moines has agreed to pay $800,000 to settle allegations he improperly billed government health care programs.
The government’s allegations covered a seven year period, from 2013 to 2020, and a whistleblower who prompted the investigation will get part of the settlement. Dr. Ronald Bergman, who operates Bergman Cosmetic Surgery in Des Moines, was accused of billing Medicare and Medicaid for services performed by others. In some instances, federal investigators say medical fellows did the work without Bergman present as their teaching physician.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bergman was also accused of billing Medicare for “medically unnecessary and unreasonable applications of skin substitute products,” which are used in surgery and for treating wounds.
In a written statement, Mark Weinhardt, Bergman’s attorney, said his client is a well-known plastic surgeon who “focuses on serving others while his office staff manages the billing side” of the practice. Weinhardt did not name the whistleblower, but said it’s “both interesting and suspect” that the person who sparked the federal investigation worked in Bergman’s office “for 12 weeks” and had notified authorities of improprieties in another medical office where she worked.