Doctors Made Referrals for Kickbacks: Feds
15 health professionals charged in New Jersey
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 13, 2011 1:03 PM CST
Paul Fishman, US attorney for the District of New Jersey, talks about the alleged medical kickback scheme.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

(Newser) – Federal authorities charged more than a dozen doctors today in an alleged kickback scheme, accusing them of receiving cash payments for referring patients to a northern New Jersey diagnostic facility for tests. Fifteen doctors and other health care providers were charged with receiving bribes in exchange for referring mostly Medicaid and Medicare patients to the Orange Community MRI radiology and diagnostic facility in Orange.

It wasn't yet clear how much money had been paid in the scheme, which began as early as 2010, said US Attorney Paul Fishman. Investigators estimate the payments ranged from $200 to more than $5,000 per month per defendant, and they tracked at least 32 separate payments made to or by the 15 defendants for a total of $51,500 in just a two-month period between October and December. "Selling test referrals for cash is illegal," Fishman said. "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."