YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Franklin Lakes doctor was among 13 physicians and a nurse practitioner arrested by federal agents this morning and charged with taking kickbacks for referring patients to an MRI facility in Essex County.
Dov J. Rand
Dov Rand, 46, is charged with taking $1,390 in cash for a pair of referrals to Orange Community MRI. He and others were due in federal court in Newark this afternoon.
Already charged was OCM’s executive director, Chirag Patel, 36, of Warren, who has been free on $750,000 bond since being arrested on Dec. 8.
“At the end of each calendar month, individuals at OCM printed patient reports that detailed how many diagnostic tests – including MRIs, ultrasounds, echocardiograms, CAT Scans, and dual-emission X-ray absorptiometries — were referred by each of the defendants,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said. “These patient reports were used to calculate the payment owed to each defendant.”
The defendants referred Medicare, Medicaid and privately insured patients, Fishman said.
“The exact nature of the payments differed per agreement; some of the doctors were only paid for MRI and CAT Scan referrals, while other defendants also were paid for the referral of ultrasounds, echocardiograms, and dual-emission X-ray absorptiometries.”
All told, those accused of participating pocked $51,500, federal authorities 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,” Fishman said. “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.”
Rand specializes in the “nonsurgical treatment of neck and back pain,” according to the North Jersey Spine Group’s web site.
“Within his role at the spine center, Dr. Rand helps patients with back and neck pain recover from pain symptoms without surgery,” it adds.
Rand has practiced in the Wayne and West Orange areas for more than 10 years after attending Rutgers, going to medical school at Howard University in Washington, D.C., completing his internship at St. Barnabas Medical Center and serving a residency in rehabilitation medicine at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in New York, the site says.
He is listed as a member of the American Medical Association, the Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and New Jersey Electrodiagnostic Society.
“When physicians take kickbacks that influence how they practice medicine, it has the potential to taint the medical advice and care that is provided to their patients,” said Tom O’Donnell, the special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General. “The audacity of these physicians should offend honest taxpayers, especially at a time when our taxpayer resources are stretched thin.”
Fishman praised O’Donnell’s agents for their role in investigating the case, as well as investigators with the IRS and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office. Presenting the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Mack of Fishman’s Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark.
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