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13 NJ Docs Charged In Cash-For-Referrals Scheme

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13 NJ doctors have been charged with accepting bribes in exchange for referring patients to one radiology center (Credit:CBS2)

13 NJ doctors have been charged with accepting bribes in exchange for referring patients to one radiology center (Credit:CBS2)

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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.

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