14 cargaron en esquema efectivo-para-de prueba alegado

por 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.

Terrel Lowrey

Happens all the time

December 15, 2011 06:54

Have been in the medical field business for 30 plus years and have seen this kickback happen a lot.
No one to report it too, so it goes on!

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Mudi Ramesh

Bizarre coincidence

December 16, 2011 08:53

It was a bizarre coincidence. This guy Chirag Patel who is named in the report had met with me along with his radiologist at my booth in the recently concluded RSNA 2011. He showed interest in the DR digital x-ray system we had on display. He indicated he might need 3 systems for 3 of his facilities.

As a diligent salesman, I called him up last week to follow up on our meeting. He gave me an appointment to meet with him at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec 13th at his facility in Orange, NJ. When I showed up at his facility, I found the place deserted with a handful of employees working behind closed doors in a clandestine manner. A visibly disturbed employee wouldn’t even open the main door to talk to me. He peeped through the window blind and gestured from inside that no one was available. When I insisted, he reluctantly opened the door and hurriedly informed me Chirag Patel was not available. He couldn’t care less that I had driven 70 miles to come in for my appointment. He was restless in seeing me get out as soon as possible. In hindsight, I feel he must have taken me for a guy from law enforcement and felt intimidated to talk to me! I was disappointed I had driven for 2 hours in busy New York City traffic in vain. On my way back home, I heard the news on CBS radio and couldn’t believe all this was happening on the day I was going to meet these guys for a sales meeting!

People who defraud tax-payer funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

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