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Florida eye doctor emerges as top-paid doc in nation, data shows

A South Florida doctor under criminal investigation for alleged excessive billing of Medicare emerged as the federal health program’s top-paid physician in the nation Wednesday, according to the most detailed data on physician payments ever released in Medicare’s nearly 50-year history.

Salomon Melgen, a West Palm Beach ophthalmologist, was paid $21 million by Medicare in 2012 — more than any other physician who billed the taxpayer-funded program that year, according to new government data.

More than half of those payments went toward reimbursing Melgen for his injections of a costly drug, Lucentis, to treat patients suffering from a retinal disease, macular degeneration. His prolific use of that drug is at the center of the U.S. attorney’s investigation into Melgen’s practice, which thrives largely on payments from the Medicare program.

Kirk Ogrosky, an attorney for Melgen, issued a statement Wednesday denying that his client has defrauded the federal health program for seniors and the disabled.

“At all times, Dr. Melgen billed in conformity with Medicare rules,’’ said Ogrosky, a former federal prosecutor who for years fought Medicare fraud in South Florida and other hot spots.

“While the amounts in the CMS data release appear large, the vast majority reflects the cost of drugs,” Ogrosky said, adding that “the amount billed by physicians is set by law, and drug companies set the price of drugs, not doctors.’’ Story here. 

 

Comments

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Ed Jenkins

The readers do not need to know financial information of others in the community as that is private information and none of their business. This is a horrible practice by this hometown paper and is something only useful to political enemies.

Hmmmm...

Under Medicare’s policies, Melgen is allowed a six percent profit ... from which he must pay his lease, staff, insurance, etc... and himself - if anything is left over...

The story should focus on the cost of the drug - unless this particular doctor is submitting for patients he is not seeing.

Bill Thompson

Ed Jenkins,

Tell it to the Wall St. Journal. It has an online searchable database of all the 2012 medicare payments by doctor, by city, by state or by dollar amount. It can be sorted and searched by anyone and everyone.

D

Shut up already loser thompson. Haven't you noticed no one cares about your whining you moron?

Bill Thompson

Most of the top paid doctors are ophthalmologists because of the billings for expensive drugs. They are allowed to only mark the cost up by 6%, so most of these dollars are going to the drug companies to purchase these ophthalmology drugs.

ed jenkins

Though some may find this entertaining, the readers see no benefit from this nightly fight between these two angry commenters named D and Thompson.

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