Doctor enters guilty plea

A chiropractor who resides in Jackson and operates a practice in Toms River admitted on April 9 to accepting bribes to refer a number of his patients to a New Jerseylicensed pain management physician, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Norman Eastburn, 48, pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of violating the Anti-Kickback statute. He entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

Eastburn was paid a cash fee per patient he referred to the pain management physician.

As part of the scheme, the pair negotiated specific kickback amounts that would be paid based on which payer would be billed — Medicare or a private healthcare insurer — and what type of pain treatment would be rendered.

Eastburn indicated to the pain physician that a medical doctor’s involvement in pain procedures would increase Eastburn’s likelihood of being reimbursed by insurers.

As an example, Eastburn recounted a prior situation in which he misled a patient by telling her that she required an injection that he did not then believe, in fact, was medically necessary, then paid a doctor $500 in cash to administer it.

The violation of the Anti-Kickback statute carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, Eastburn has agreed to forfeit to the United States the money he was paid in bribes. Sentencing is scheduled for July 8, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.