Sen. Menendez’s donor-doctor is nation’s top Medicare biller

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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The Florida doctor who entangled Sen. Robert Menendez in an FBI investigation also turns out to be the nation’s No. 1 recipient of Medicare funds.

Dr. Salomon Melgin, the Florida eye surgeon, charged the government $320 for giving 37,075 injections of an eye-drug to 645 patients. That’s an average of 57 injections per patient, costing the taxpayer $21 million in 2012.

The data was buried in an April 9 release of Medicare data by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Studies.

The wealthy doctor lives in a palatial house in in North Palm Beach, and donated heavily to Menendez. He’s now the target of at least one FBI investigation, which included raids on his offices in January and October 2013.

Menendez got entangled in the doctor’s finances when he used Melgen’s private plane to fly Menendez to various locales, including vacation sites in the Dominican Republic. Menendez took at least three trips on the doctor’s airplane in 2010.

After the trips were disclosed by The Daily Caller and other outlets, the Senator subsequently paid Melgen $58,000 for the costs.

Between 1998 and early 2013, Melgen donated $193,350 to politicians, including $14,200 to Menendez.

The full nature of their doctor-Senator relationship is not fully understood.

“The new data set has information for over 880,000 distinct health care providers who collectively received $77 billion in Medicare payments in 2012, under the Medicare Part B Fee-For-Service program,” said an April 9 statement. “With this data, it will be possible to conduct a wide range of analyses that compare 6,000 different types of services and procedures provided, as well as payments received by individual health care providers.”

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