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Top Medicare billing doctor is arrested for fraud

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h2091 (Published 20 April 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2091
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1Montreal

A Florida ophthalmologist who is the top biller of Medicare in the United States has been indicted on 46 charges of medical fraud.

Salomon Melgen, 61, is accused of falsely diagnosing serious eye diseases and providing useless and unneeded treatments so that he could bill for them. Melgen routinely billed for imaging studies in which intravenous contrast dye was given orally and billed for injecting drugs designed to treat macular degeneration into eyes that were actually blind or even prosthetic, the charges allege.

He was arrested at his office and is being held in custody while his attorneys seek bail. Prosecutors say that Melgen, owner of a private jet and a villa in his native Dominican Republic, is a flight risk.

Melgen, the sole physician practitioner in his three Tampa Bay clinics, saw up to 100 patients a day and billed Medicare for $190m (£130m; €175m) between 2004 and 2013, of which $105m was paid out.

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