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Chiropractor faked exams for state workers, inspector general says

By Journal Staff


UTICA, N.Y. — A chiropractor who once had a practice in Utica has been arrested, charged with faking workers’-compensation exams, including one for a state employee who was well enough to go kayaking.

Eric Szatko, 47, of Sauquoit, was arrested Wednesday after an investigation by New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott.

According to a release from Leahy Scott’s office, “Szatko, acting as an authorized medical provider for the Workers’ Compensation system, submitted to the State Insurance Fund fraudulent medical progress reports indicating he examined and treated Central New York Psychiatric Center employees on several separate occasions in early 2016, when in fact no such examinations or treatments occurred. With those reports, Szatko was also billing for medical services that were not provided.”

Szatko submitted a medical excuse for Ryan Haley, a former employee who worked at the psychiatric center, to be out of work with pay for two days in February and between March 31 and April 15, 2016 with no examination, the release said. “Haley was not injured at the time and used the paid time off for a kayaking excursion in Puerto Rico and a trip to California with his girlfriend.”

Haley pleaded guilty to workers’-compensation fraud in March 2017, the release said.

Two other workers at the psychiatric facility received medical excuses from Szatko that resulted in their taking off a combined five weeks of work, despite the fact they had not been examined by Szatko, according to investigators.

Catherine Leahy Scott
New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott

“These charges allege a sham medical mill run by a practitioner whose brazen malpractice on New York’s taxpayers enabled state employees to feign injuries and enjoy paid time off to which they were not entitled,” Leahy Scott said in the release.

Szatko is charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree, four counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, and three counts of the workers’-compensation crime of fraudulent practices, all felonies

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