Southern Ocean Pediatrics Doctor’s Medicaid Suspension Lifted

May 10, 2017

Local pediatrician Michael Bleiman’s temporary suspension from the Medicaid program has ended after he agreed to pay a $156,000 fine and to revise certain office practices, the New Jersey Office of the State Comptroller announced last week. Bleiman, of Southern Ocean Pediatrics and Family Medicine, was the subject of investigations by the New Jersey Department of Health, the Board of Medical Examiners and the Comptroller’s Medicaid Fraud Division.

Bleiman’s practice had improperly stored vaccines administered to children as part of the Vaccines for Children program. As a result, in January 2017, MFD temporarily suspended Bleiman and his practice from all Medicaid and NJ FamilyCare programs. MFD issued the temporary suspensions based on concerns that the vaccines administered to Medicaid beneficiaries may have been compromised.

The VFC program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of their family’s inability to pay. Many of the children vaccinated through the VFC program are Medicaid beneficiaries.

“The quality of care issues in this matter raised serious concerns about the welfare of Medicaid program participants,” State Comptroller Philip James Degnan said. “This settlement holds Dr. Bleiman accountable for his actions while ensuring compliance going forward.”

Degnan noted $110,000 of the settlement amount is a civil penalty levied by MFD, while the balance represents Bleiman’s reimbursement to the Medicaid program of overpayments that were made to Bleiman and his practice.

MFD serves as the state’s independent watchdog for New Jersey’s various Medicaid programs and works to ensure that the state’s Medicaid dollars are being spent effectively and efficiently. As part of its oversight role, MFD audits and investigates health care providers, managed care organizations and Medicaid recipients to identify and recover improperly expended Medicaid funds and identify and redress quality of care issues affecting the health of Medicaid recipients. —V.F.

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