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MRI Centers Settle Case for $1.2M

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) - A group of Chicago-area radiology centers will pay $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit accusing them of paying kickbacks to doctors who sent them patients. The Illinois Attorney General's Office announced the settlement of the case that was filed in 2006.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan said doctors paid a reduced rate for MRI and CT scans, the centers charged patients' insurance carriers a higher rate and pocketed the difference.

"This settlement sends a strong message that medical professionals cannot engage in schemes to line their pockets at the expense of providing the best patient care," Madigan said in a statement.

The state will distribute $840,000 of the settlement in grants to benefit poor people who need health services. The agreement also orders the defendants to stop paying kickbacks for referrals.The lawsuit was filed by the operator of a Chicago-area MRI center, who claimed Open Advanced MRI facilities cut the illegal deals with doctors.

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