DOJ alleges SpineFrontier bribed spine surgeons to use devices in $8M kickback scheme

Angie Stewart -   Print  |

The Department of Justice intervened in two whistleblower cases alleging that SpineFrontier illegally paid over $8 million in kickbacks to spine surgeons from October 2013 through December 2018.

In complaints filed under the False Claims Act, the government accuses SpineFrontier, its executives and related entities of paying spine surgeons to use the company's medical devices and disguising those kickbacks as consulting fees for product evaluations.

SpineFrontier founder and CEO Kingsley Chin, MD, is also the founder and principal owner of KIC Management Group and KICVentures. Those two entities own and operate SpineFrontier and Impartial Medical Experts, which prosecutors allege was created for the sole purpose of shielding the "sham" consulting payments from government scrutiny.

Dr. Kingsley, his wife and IME employee Vanessa Dudley, and SpineFrontier President and CFO Aditya Humad allegedly portrayed IME as an independent, third-party entity but actually used it to bribe spine surgeons with kickbacks.

Spine surgeons were allegedly paid about $500 for a cervical procedure and $1,000 for a lumbar procedure if they used SpineFrontier devices, even though SpineFrontier didn't systematically collect or use feedback from those surgeons.

Prosecutors accuse SpineFrontier of giving surgeons unlimited opportunities to receive these "consulting" payments, as long as they used SpineFrontier devices.

Previous employees originally filed the lawsuits under the False Claims Act's whistleblower provision.

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