JERSEY CITY, N.J. (PIX11) -- "Where are the patients supposed to go?"
This question is not only on the mind of Rebecca Porter but also other former patients of American Imaging MRI Centers throughout northern New Jersey.
The company's 14 MRI centers were shut down last month by the State of New Jersey's Medicaid Control Fraud Unit in a case labeled Operation RayScam. Investigators say that the operators of American Imaging lived a lavish lifestyle as a result of patient referrals obtained through hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal kickbacks to doctors.
Now those arrests have created a situation that orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ernesto Tolentino says is a first in his 42 years of practicing medicine. "Never had an issue of this particular nature."
The issue comes s a result of the arrests as well as the seizure of evidence. Patients are unable to get their medical records or recent MRI exams.
"I was wondering about that last night because I have to get my mammogram because they have that over there," said Eloise Grant is a former patient.
Dr. Tolentino adds that the situation has already impacted patients at his practice. "It prevents a conclusion concerning the patient and it also causes the insurance companies and the patient a much greater fee."
A spokesperson for the New Jersey Attorney General's office told PIX11 News the following via a statement: "We are aware that there is an issue and we are working with the New Jersey Department of Health to resolve the matter as quickly as possible."
To which an optimistic Porter says, "Well maybe the state will come through for us. What can you do? We'll just have to wait and see."