Two Doctors Convicted in $31 Million DME Scheme
Those involved acquired patient referrals and signed doctors’ orders by paying kickbacks to marketers who used overseas call centers to solicit Medicare beneficiaries for unneeded DME.
- By David Kopf
- Feb 09, 2023
A federal jury convicted two Florida doctors in a scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting more than $31 million in claims for DME that beneficiaries did not need and that were procured through the payment of kickbacks.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Dean Zusmer of Miami was a chiropractor who owned one of four DME companies that collectively billed Medicare more than $31 million for medically unnecessary DME, of which more than $15 million was paid by the program.
According to the DOJ, Zusmer and his co-conspirators, including Jeremy Waxman, acquired patient referrals and signed doctors’ orders by paying kickbacks to marketers who used overseas call centers to solicit patients and telemedicine companies to procure prescriptions for unnecessary braces for these patients.
The DOJ also reported that an orthopedic surgeon, Lawrence Alexander, M.D., also of Miami, owned another one of the DME companies with Waxman and concealed both his and Waxman’s roles in the scheme by putting the DME company in the name of one of Alexander’s family members.
Zusmer was convicted of multiple counts of fraud, conspiracy and antikickback violations. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 20, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each of the following counts: conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud; healthcare fraud; and paying illegal healthcare kickbacks. He also faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the following counts: conspiracy to pay illegal healthcare kickbacks and false statements relating to healthcare matters.
Alexander was convicted of false statements relating to healthcare matters. He is also scheduled to be sentenced on April 20 and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Waxman was previously sentenced to over 15 years in prison for his role in the scheme.
About the Author
David Kopf is the Publisher HME Business, DME Pharmacy and Mobility Management magazines. He was Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy from 2008 to 2023. Follow him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/dkopf/ and on Twitter at @postacutenews.