14 charged in alleged cash-for-testing scheme
by Brendon Nafziger
, DOTmed News Associate Editor | December 14, 2011
More than a dozen New Jersey doctors were arrested Tuesday after allegedly accepting cash bribes to refer clients to a local imaging center, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Federal authorities charged 13 doctors and a nurse-practitioner with allegedly taking illegal kickbacks from Orange Community MRI, a diagnostic imaging facility in Orange, N.J.
The defendants were scheduled to appear in a Newark federal court Tuesday. Chirag Patel, 36, the MRI facility's executive director, is out on a $750,000 bond after having been arrested in connection with the scheme on Dec. 8, the U.S. attorney's office said.
"Selling test referrals for cash is illegal. Patients have every right to expect their doctors will recommend medical service providers because they do the best job, not because they provide the best bribes," U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a statement.
Investigators aren't sure how much money was involved in the whole alleged plot, but they believe it dates to at least early 2010. From October to December this year, authorities accuse the defendants of paying or pocketing $51,500.
Prosecutors say the alleged plot was uncovered using a cooperating witness posing as an employee at the imaging center. They say the scheme worked like this: At the end of each month, the imaging facility printed out patient reports detailing how many scans they got, including CT, MRI, ultrasound, echocardiogram and dual-emission X-ray absorptiometries. These reports would then be used to calculate payments, the prosecutors allege.
Payments ranged from $200 to $5,000 per month, and were provided for referring both Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and patients with private insurance, prosecutors claimed.
Defendants are charged with violating the federal health care program anti-kickback statute, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the crime.
You Must Be Logged In To Post A Comment
Registration is Free and Easy.
Enjoy the benefits of The World's Leading New & Used Medical Equipment Marketplace.