Florida ophthalmologist facing fraud charges suspended from Medicaid

Weeks after posting $18 million in bonds to secure his release from prison, Salomon Melgen, M.D., was officially suspended from participation in the Medicaid program in July, according to Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). Melgen, who operated out of Palm Beach, faces 76 counts of healthcare fraud for allegedly performing unnecessary tests, procedures and surgeries totaling $105 million.

AHCA listed Melgen's suspension under its July licensure actions, noting only that the exclusion was a result of his indictment on healthcare fraud charges. AHCA also released a letter sent to Melgen in April notifying him of his suspension from the Medicaid program "for the duration of the indictment." The final order was issued July 2.

In previous years, Melgen drew attention as one of the highest-paid physicians in the Medicare program, collecting $20.2 million in 2012 and $14.4 million in 2013.

In addition to Medicare fraud charges, Melgen is also entwined in public corruption charges involving his relationship with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). The Department of Justice indicted Menendez and Melgen, alleging that Menendez intervened on a fraud investigation into the ophthalmologist's billing practices after a 2009 audit revealed $8.9 million in potential overbilling. Prosecutors are focusing on the timing of political donations and gifts Melgen provided Menendez, while defense attorneys have highlighted their close friendship.

For more:
- here's the AHCA announcement
- see Melgen's suspension letter

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