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Aetna Sues 6 NJ Doctors For Overbilling

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Doctor (file/credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Doctor (file/credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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WOODLAND PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Aetna Inc. was suing six New Jersey physicians, claiming they filed “unlawful and excessive” bills, including nearly $57,000 for a 25-minute consultation.

The lawsuits stem from hospital care where patients were referred to in-network hospitals but received care from out-of-network physicians. The doctors don’t have contracts and set their own fees.

Aetna spokeswoman Cynthia Michener told The Record newspaper the six doctors were reimbursed $8.3 million in 2009, up from $4.9 million in 2008.

The spokeswoman said you can’t charge $56,000 for a $74 ultrasound procedure.

The lawsuit alleges cardiologist Deepak Srinivasan at Hackensack University Medical Center increased his fee from $1,400 to $16,380 for the first 30 to 74 minutes of services for critically ill patients.

The doctor’s lawyer, George Frino, called Aetna’s suit “a gross abuse of the judicial system.”

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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