Thirteen doctors and a nurse practitioner were arrested in New Jersey this week for accepting kickback payments for referring patients to a certain diagnostic imaging facility.
Chirag Patel, 36, executive director of Orange Community MRI (OCM) was arrested on Dec. 8 for allegedly dolling out monthly payments in exchange for referrals. Federal prosecutors say the agreements were spelled out in written contracts beginning last year.
Doctors were paid for tests such as MRIs, ultrasounds, echocardiograms, CAT Scans, and dual-emission X-ray absorptiometries, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Between October and December of this year, OCM allegedly paid out $51,500 in kickbacks.
“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,” said U.S. Attorney Fishman in a press release. “There is no room in the federal healthcare system for those who see a person in need of care as an opportunity to make an extra buck on the side.”