The US Attorney's Office for Eastern WA announced Friday a former Tri-City area physician and a medical service company will pay $700,000.

 Doctor part of a kick-back scheme to defraud Medicare.

Dr. William Edward Salko, D.O., formerly of Richland, and Jackson & Coker LocumTenens, LLC (JCLT) will pay the money to resolve allegations they participated in a kick-back scheme.

Medicare pays for what is called durable medical equipment (DME) as well as genetic medical testing in certain cases. In order for those genetic tests to be done, the tests have to be ordered by a physician who is treating them.

According to the US Attorney's Office:

"Between April and September 2021, Dr. Salko was retained through JCLT to provide contracted telemedicine services for a company known as Nationwide Health Advocates (Nationwide).  Nationwide employed telemarketing companies to target and contact Medicare beneficiaries, and to speak with them about obtaining DME or laboratory testing at no cost to the beneficiaries."

Nationwide obtained personal information from these people, and set up 'fake' accounts and paperwork to make it appear Dr. Salko was treating them. Then bills were sent to Medicare.

The former owner and president of Nationwide, David Santana, has already pleaded guilty to charges in 2023 in Massachusetts for his role in the kickback scheme. Once the fraudulent Medicare bills were paid, Nationwide would pay JCLT, who would then pay Dr.Salko.

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 Online information from WebMD indicates that, at one time, Dr. Salko was a part of Kennewick Emergency Physicians on Auburn Street. The US Attorney's Office also said he practiced in Richland.

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