A Connecticut doctor pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to accepting bribes in exchange for ordering medically unnecessary brain scans.
Donald Salzberg, MD, 67, of Avon, Conn., pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to receive bribes.
The court has not yet set a date for the sentencing hearing. Salzberg was charged by an Information on May 23.
Salzberg, who for 36 years has been a licensed optometrist in Connecticut, owned and operated Donald J. Salzberg, MD, an ophthalmology practice in West Hartford, Conn.
According to federal authorities, from 2014 to 2019, Salzberg conspired with an executive for a medical diagnostic company that performed transcranial doppler (TCD) scans — brain scans that measure blood flow to parts of the brain — to order hundreds of TCD scans. medically unnecessary in exchange for bribes.
Salzberg, whose practice is in West Hartford, Conn., used false patient diagnoses to order brain scans and the other person would submit claims to Medicare and other insurance companies for payment, prosecutors said.
Salzberg was paid kickbacks of $100 to $125 for each test he ordered, as well as falsified administrative service fees. More than $3 million in fraudulent claims were submitted to Medicare and private insurance companies, according to federal authorities.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Boston noted that the charge of conspiracy to commit health care fraud carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to violate the anti-torture statute carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the US Sentencing Guidelines and statutes governing sentencing in a criminal case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel Y. Hemani and Howard Locker of the Rollins Health Care Fraud Unit are prosecuting the case.