13 NJ Docs Charged In Cash-For-Referrals Scheme

ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A major bust has resulted in more than a dozen doctors being charged with taking cash payments in exchange for patient referrals.

On Tuesday, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan was at Orange Community Radiology where the government alleges that 13 New Jersey doctors sent their patients, in exchange for illegal cash kickbacks.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman explained the serious allegations.

“By taking the money these doctors put illegal profits ahead of the interest of their patients,” Fishman said.

The U.S. Attorney alleges that the center’s executive director, Chirag Patel, forked out more than $50,000 in bribes to the accused doctors over a three-month period.

Patients claim that their doctors directed them to go to the radiology center. Maria Mercado said that a nurse practitioner from a Newark clinic always sent her husband to Orange for X-rays. That nurse has been charged in the scheme.

“He said specifically go to Orange Community Radiology,” she said.

Mercado expressed her disgust.

“It’s not fair he’s been sending people to one place just to get money,” Mercado said.

Doors were locked Tuesday at the offices of several doctors charged in the scheme.

Most of the patients were using Medicare or Medicaid. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is investigating whether unnecessary tests were ordered.

The government said that it is investigating to see if Orange Community Radiology did proper tests and if others were involved in the scheme.

No comment was available from the radiology center.

The government said Medicare and Medicaid have suspended the charged doctors from their program.

What do you think about doctors putting profit above the needs of their patients? Let us know in our comments section.

  • Mudi Ramesh

    It was a bizarre coincidence. This guy Chirag Patel who is named in the report had given me an appointment to meet with him at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec 13th. I am a medical x-ray vendor and he had wanted me to come in to discuss his requirement of some x-ray machines. 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 rolled up 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!

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