A judge has dismissed liens totaling over $18 million in the case of Michael E. Barri, who pled guilty in 2016 to multiple federal charges, including conspiracy and receiving illegal kickbacks from Pacific Hospital. Barri and other practitioners generated fraudulent referrals resulting in Pacific Hospital billing insurers almost $4 million for medical procedures including spinal surgeries. Barri had been suspended from the California workers’ compensation system by the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Devision of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) after pleading guilty, but challenged the suspension while pursuing collection of liens he had filed in almost 1,000 workers’ compensation cases.
Barri’s writ of appeal was denied in 2018, and the Appeals court upheld the 2017 anti-fraud legislation that required DWC to suspend certain medical providers, including those charged with fraud, from participating in the CA workers’ compensation system. According to a DIR statement, “The anti-fraud statutes that took effect in January 2017 were designed to prevent convicted medical providers from continuing to file lien claims and profiting from fraud,” said Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) Administrative Director George Parisotto. “The dismissal of millions of dollars’ worth of liens shows the strategy to fight those schemes works.”