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Ophthalmologist sentenced for scheming over $3 million in false claims

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | May 20, 2024
Business Affairs
An ophthalmologist from Connecticut was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for his involvement in a five-year healthcare fraud scheme, and will pay $1.34 million in restitution to Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers.

Dr. Donald Salzberg, who has been a licensed medical doctor for nearly 40 years, owned and operated an ophthalmology practice in West Hartford. From 2014 to 2019, he conspired with a principal from a medical diagnostics company to order hundreds of unnecessary transcranial doppler (TCD) scans, which measure blood flow in the brain. These scans were deemed medically unnecessary, and Salzberg received kickbacks for ordering them.

The scheme involved using false patient diagnoses to justify the TCD scans, allowing the medical diagnostics company to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare and other insurance companies. Salzberg received cash payments of $100 to $125 per ordered test, along with bogus administrative service fees. The fraudulent activities resulted in over $3 million in false claims to Medicare and private insurers.

Salzberg pleaded guilty in July 2022 to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to receive kickbacks.

The case was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy, along with officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, FBI Boston Division, IRS Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard Locker of the Health Care Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.

The sentencing took place in federal court in Boston, overseen by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock.

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