Broward County

The doctor’s not admitting he did anything wrong. He’s just paying $750,000


A Plantation ear, nose and throat doctor will pay the government through the nose for billing for surgeries that either weren’t necessary or provided.

Dr. Paul Tartell’s bill comes to $750,000, the U.S. Justice Department’s Southern District announced, $135,000 of which will go to former patient Theodore Duay.

Duay’s allegations started the lawsuit, which was filed as a private citizen on behalf of the government under the whistleblower section of the False Claims Act.

Duay alleged that Tartell routinely billed diagnostic endoscopies he performed as more expensive surgical debridements. For its part, the government claimed Tartell commonly billed Medicare and the Federal Employment Health Benefits Program for claims arising from laryngeal video stroboscopies that weren’t needed or that he didn’t do.

As stated in the agreement, the settlement doesn’t mean Tartell admits liability or that the government admits that its accusations weren’t accurate.

Tartell has held a Florida license since 1990. His 13-year partnership with Dr. Lee Mandel produced the South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center, but ended in 2011 with a litigious split.

The Florida Department of Health website lists no emergency actions, discipline cases or public complaints against Tartell.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal