Criminal charges have been filed against Dr. John Zipperer, Jr. MD and his corporation Zipperer Medical Group for fraud against the state Medicaid program.
The State Department of Law alleges that Dr. Zipperer filed millions of dollars worth of claims for fraudulent laboratory urine tests performed from August of 2013 to August of 2015 and that his company, ZMG, performed over one million medically unnecessary laboratory tests on patients’ samples at a Tennessee lab he owned, billing Medicaid for those tests.
Zipperer practices “interventional pain” medicine. He is a graduate of Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine and specializes in pain and addiction treatment.
He opened a clinic in Wasilla in 2012 and expanded clinics across the state in Anchorage, Eagle River, and Fairbanks. In 2013, he opened a testing facility in Tennessee.
The State alleges ZMG would see patients as often as once every three day and would often require them to submit urine samples for testing, which would be done at the lab he owned.
The State says Zipperer would order dozens of unnecessary and duplicative tests on each urine sample and then bill Medicaid, private insurance companies, or cash-paying patients personally, at rates ranging from $3,000-$8,000 per urine sample.
The red flag came after Zipperer was reimbursed about $9 million for laboratory testing between August 2013 and September 2015, an amount 10 times greater than the combined total of all other providers in the Alaska Medicaid system for laboratory test codes billed during the time period, according to the Law Department.
The case triggered a formal state audit review in 2018. Throughout 2019, the state says Zipperer “failed to respond to repeated requests for supporting documentation for the millions of dollars worth of claims he submitted in response to agency requests. This refusal itself is a criminal offense under Alaska law.”
In 2015, Zipperer closed his methadone clinic in Wasilla after saying he was unable to adequately staff the clinic, in part because of an FBI investigation into the clinic practices. Methadone is a replacement to narcotics that suppresses withdrawal symptoms and helps wean people off of opioids. Treatment with methadone can last for years.
The charging document may be found on the State of Alaska, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
The charges against Zipperer carry a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $100,000 and restitution to the State of Alaska Medicaid program. The charges of medical assistance fraud against the corporation carry a possible maximum sentence of up to $5 million, and a potential restitution order.
Any person who may have information about Dr. Zipperer or facts related to this case are encouraged to contact the State of Alaska, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at (907) 269-6279.