NEWARK – An eye surgeon who allegedly submitted falsified eye examination reports so patients would qualify for funding for cataract surgery has been reprimanded by the State Board of Medical Examiners (B.M.E.) and will pay $80,000 in restitution to the N.J. Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
Dr. Hitesh K. Patel will pay a $45,000 civil penalty and reimburse the state $50,000 for its investigative, legal and expert witness costs, in addition to the restitution. Patel also must attend and pass a course on record keeping, under terms of the Consent Order with the B.M.E.
Dr. Patel allegedly submitted false eye examination reports, which showed worse vision problems than patients actually had, to the Commission in order to qualify for funding to perform cataract surgery. Patel neither admitted nor denied the state’s allegations in entering into the Consent Order.
“Protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public is of paramount concern to our licensing boards,” Attorney General Paula T. Dow said.
The inaccuracies in Patel’s eye examination reports were confirmed when a second physician examined the same patients, as required by the Commission.
“We will investigate any allegation of fraud, deception or misrepresentation, as these actions undermine the trust that is the foundation of the patient-physician relationship,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.
Dr. Patel maintains an office in Edison and performed eye surgery at a facility in Hamilton Township, Mercer County.
Deputy Attorney General Kim D. Ringler represented the state in this settlement.