California’s Department of Industrial Relations and the Division of Workers’ Compensation has suspended two more medical providers from participating in California’s workers’ comp system.
The suspensions were made possible by the passage last year of Assembly Bill 1244, which requires the DWC administrative director to suspend any medical provider convicted of a crime involving fraud or abuse of the Medi-Cal or Medicare programs or the workers’ comp system, a patient, or related types of misconduct.
DWC Acting Administrative Director George Parisotto issued the suspension orders for the following providers, who had not appealed suspension notices issued:
Michael R. Drobot operated California Pharmacy Management and Industrial Pharmacy Management, companies that participated in a scheme to illegally refer patients for spinal surgeries, which led to more than $580 million in fraudulent bills. He pled guilty in U.S. District Court last year to conspiracy and illegal kickback charges. He is the son of Michael D. Drobot, the hospital operator who also pled guilty for his part in the kickback scheme. DWC suspended the senior Drobot on April 28. Drobot’s case made headlines as part of a bribery and money laundering case involving former California Legislators Ron Calderon and his brother Tom Calderon.
Steven Howser, the manager of Post Surgical Rehab Specialists of Santa Fe Springs, was charged in U.S. District Court for participating in an illegal scheme to refer patients for durable medical equipment. He pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, honest services mail fraud and to violate the travel act.
AB 1244 requires the DWC Administrative Director to suspend any medical provider, physician or practitioner from participating in the workers’ comp system in cases in which one or more of the following is true:
The provider has been convicted of a crime involving fraud or abuse of the Medi-Cal or Medicare programs or the workers’ compensation system, fraud or abuse of a patient, or related types of misconduct;
The provider has been suspended due to fraud or abuse from the Medicare or Medicaid (including Medi-Cal) programs; or
The provider’s license or certificate to provide health care has been surrendered or revoked.
There are currently 25 providers suspended from California’s workers’ comp system, according to the DWC.
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