Ophthalmologist associated with NJ senator arrested on Medicare fraud charges

Florida ophthalmologist Salomon E. Melgen, MD, has been arrested by federal authorities and charged with 46 counts of healthcare fraud, according to The Wall Street Journal. Dr. Melgen faces bribery charges with New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez (D).

Allegations that Dr. Melgen submitted false claims to Medicare between 2004 and 2013 are among the fraud charges he faces.

The indictment filed by federal prosecutors describes Dr. Melgen's practice as a "high-volume operation," and outlines patient files that include false patient information and fraudulent billing submissions for more than two dozen patients.

Dr. Melgen appeared at a federal court in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Thursday and pleaded not guilty, according to a Reuters report.

Dr. Melgen made headlines last year when CMS released data on the dollar amounts physicians received in Medicare Part B payments for 2012 and he topped the list with $20.8 million in reimbursement.

Dr. Melgen's firm donated more than $700,000 to Majority PAC, which then spent $600,000 to help re-elect Sen. Menendez, a friend of Dr. Melgen.

The Florida ophthalmologist is also no stranger to scrutiny from federal investigators. When Dr. Melgen was sued for allegedly overbilling CMS by roughly $9 million, the physician reached out to Sen. Menendez for help. Sen. Menendez's aides acknowledged that the senator called the Medicare director at CMS in 2009 and later brought the matter up at a meeting with the acting administrator in 2012. Dr. Melgen pleaded not guilty with Sen. Menendez on bribery charges for which they were indicted.



More articles on healthcare industry lawsuits:
Dr. Tariq Mahmood sentenced for healthcare fraud scheme 

Hospital CEO sues 'non-patients' for $30M over conspiracy claims
State-level false claims developments: 4 things to know

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