YONKERS, NY — April 10, 2013 — A
few months ago a new patient came to see me. He had read my book , “What Your
Doctor Won’t (or Can’t) Tell You” a few years ago and came with a huge folder
of bills for blood tests at a lab called Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services. He
is a healthy man who believed that his medical doctor had ordered an unusual
amount of blood tests on him and that his insurance company paid thousands of
dollars for many unnecessary lab tests.
are the actual labs tests ordered on this patient:
Thyroid Peroxidase AB
Hepatitis A Total
Hepatitis A IGM
Hepatitis B Surface AG
Hepatitis B Surface AB
B Core AB
B Core AB IGM
Simplex Type 1
Simplex Type 2
told him that I would have ordered only the following bloods that would likely
be billed for less than $200 dollars:
- Blood count – I did not notice
if that was ordered
- Thyroid lab that would have only
included a T4 and TSH for screening
- Lipid profile – I did not see
that test ordered.
Yesterday, April 9, 2013, according to a
statement released by the office of the New Jersey U.S. Attorney, “Federal
agents arrested the president and part-owner of Parsippany, N.J.-based
Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS), a New Jersey physician and two
other BLS employees yesterday morning on charges they participated in a long-running
scheme to bribe doctors to refer patient blood samples to BLS and to order
unnecessary tests, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in profit for the
company. The charges were announced today by New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J.
My sources suggested that
doctors were being paid around $5,000 a month to use BLS and order a programmed
minimum amount of tests, specifically costly studies like allergy tests and
hormone studies. But it seems my sources were wrong , and underestimated the
amount of bribes being paid.
In that same statement a “
Frank Santangelo, 43, of Boonton, N.J., a New Jersey physician with offices in
Montville and Wayne, is charged in the Complaint for allegedly accepting bribes
to refer patients to BLS and violating his duty of fidelity to his patients.
Santangelo allegedly received more than $700,000 in bribe payments from BLS and
sent the company more than $4.2 million in blood referrals.”
While the agents have arrested the owners of this company
and a physician they have yet to investigate, perhaps there are hundreds of other
physicians who took cash from BLS workers, like the physician for this
patient, and in return ordered millions of dollars of unnecessary tests. I
suspect that this is just the beginning of one of the largest medical insurance
investigations in both New Jersey and New York and I am hoping that these
duplicitous MDs are not sleeping well tonight.
Dr. Evan S. Levine is a cardiologist in New York and a
Clinical Assistant Professor of
Medicine at Montefiore Medical
– Albert Einstein
College of Medicine, and affiliated
with St. Joseph's Medical Center in Yonkers. He is also the author of the book “What Your Doctor
Won’t (or Can’t) Tell You”. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and children.