Medicaid fraud probe creates bureaucratic nightmare for patients – Part 1

Sometimes crime investigations have unintended consequences.
The state has accused Rehan “Ray” Zubari of masterminding a Medicaid fraud and kickback scheme that allegedly raked in $8 million through 30,000 fraudulent Medicaid claims. His company Diagnostic Imaging Affiliates — which owns 10 imaging facilities in central and northern New Jerse — is at the focus of the probe. Zubari…was charged with first-degree racketeering…(I)mmigration charges landed him back in Essex County jail last week, and authorities said he’s expected to stay there until the new criminal charges are resolved.

Back to those unintended consequences: Patients of Zubari’s diagnostic imaging centers say they’ve had a hard time getting copies of their medical records.

“It all began the first week in July when I called to schedule my yearly mammogram,” said Loren Katsakos, who was a patient of Montville Imaging Centers, one of Zubari’s companies. “The phone just rang and rang.” When she found out the center was closed for a fraud investigation, she embarked on a bureaucratic journey to get copies of her past test results, which are especially important for mammograms so doctors can compare test results over time.
Katsakos, who has had a history of breast problems and a lumpectomy, made an appointment at a different imaging center. After her exam, she was told she’d need to return for a follow-up, and the radiologist stressed the importance of getting her old images. “As you know, a picture is worth a thousand words,” she said.
Katsakos tried to get answers. “I contacted the Morris County Victim/Witness Services, Office of the Prosecutor and left a message asking if they could help me get my records from the FBI, which is where I thought the records were,” she said. “I never received a call back.”
Then in late August, she read a story in The Star-Ledger that said the records were with the state, and that patients could get copies by contacting the Department of Health. Katsakos said she called and was told to file a complaint, so she did. The next morning she received a call instructing her to call different number, this one with the Division of Criminal Justice “This number was a recording for imaging patients. It asked that I leave my name, date of birth, the films I wanted, along with contact information,” she said. “In addition, the message asked that I fax a release request.”
Katsakos said she left a message with all the requested information and faxed a release to the number provided on the voice message. That was on Aug. 28, and Katsakos said she still hasn’t been contacted. “Why keep the patients in the dark, especially women who rely on prior mammograms for accurate diagnoses? I have received no letters from the state about this. The lack of communication is frustrating.”
Katsakos isn’t the only patient seeking records. She said her mother-in-law shares the same predicament, as does her colleague, Renee Lavin. Lavin has an appointment next week at a new imaging center, but she knows accurate diagnoses and comparisons will be next to impossible without her old films.

Patients who need copies of medical scans from Diagnostic Imaging Affiliates should call (609) 777-3625 and provide their name, date of birth, the type of test, the date of the test, the body part tested and a mailing address where the records can be sent.


Medicaid fraud probe creates bureaucratic nightmare for patients -- Part 2
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