A chiropractor who lives in Nutley has been indicted for stealing more than $89,000 by submitting false documentation to insurance companies, according to state Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa.
Joseph Salomone, 44, of Nutley, was charged on July 27 with 125 counts of second-degree health care claims fraud, and one count each of second-degree attempted theft by deception and second-degree theft by deception, according to a statement. He faces up to $150,000 in fines and up to 10 years in jail if convicted, according to officials.
Nutley Commissioner Joseph Scarpelli is a chiropractor with an office in Nutley, and said a few cases of bad behavior should not reflect upon on all doctors. None of the commissioners said they would speak specifically of the Salomone case.
"Anytime there is a conviction in one of these cases, it gives a black eye to the whole medical profession," Scarpelli said. "People should remember that 99.9 percent of all doctors choose to do the right thing legitimately."
"We must never lose sight of the honest, hardworking doctors, and that these types of stories are the rare exception," said Commissioner Steven Rogers, a retired police captain. "Whenever this happens, it tarnishes things for everyone."
Salomone is the president of Pain and Injury Center of North Jersey PC, located in Paterson; Salomone Chiropractic PA, located in Jersey City; and the now-defunct Pain Relief Health Center of New Jersey, which had been located in East Orange, officials said.
“Salomone allegedly kept the patients coming for months and months of chiropractic care by falsifying the results of examinations so that they always supported continued treatment — and continued billing,” Chiesa said in a statement.
The indictment alleges that, between Aug. 16, 2007 and June 4, 2011, Salomone submitted 125 fraudulent documents to insurance companies in order to fraudulently get paid. Officials say he also directed his office staff to complete re-evaluation forms for 37 patients.
The forms were supposed to be assessments by the chiropractor to see whether the patient needed to have continued, or perhaps different, chiropractic care.
It is alleged that Salomone directed his staff to complete the re-evaluation forms using pre-determined information unrelated to an actual assessment of the patient.
Thomas Evans is Nutley's Commissioner directing the Department of Revenue and Finance. He said better enforcement and oversight can help prevent these types of abuses, but educating patients is most important of all.
"We need patients to know about the risk of getting caught, and increase the penalties," Evans said. "We need patients to link their co-pays to the actual services given, and to be more alert to how services are charged to deductibles