The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently revealed that now-deceased spine surgeon Cyril Raben, MD, continued practicing medicine after surrendering his license and collected thousands from Medicare before his death.
Dr. Raben had obtained a license to practice medicine in several states, but by the end of his career he left a trail of complications and patient deaths.
Here are five things to know.
1. Dr. Raben practiced for many years in Arkansas, but a 2007 review of 15 surgical cases found a 73 percent complication rate. The review was conducted after a patient complained about Dr. Raben; the patient had been paralyzed as a result of surgery he performed. In 2014, he told the Arkansas board he would no longer perform surgeries in the state, but he did bill Medicare for $44,000 in 2015 for performing spinal injections.
2. During that time, Dr. Raben also practiced medicine in Ohio and Minnesota. In 2014, Mr. Raben surrendered his medical license in Ohio following reports from patients who died or were paralyzed during spine procedures he performed.
3. From 2013 to 2015, Dr. Raben received around $1.3 million from Medicare for surgery he performed, with around $847,000 coming after he surrendered his license to practice in Ohio.
4. Although Dr. Raben admitted to being sued somewhere between 15 and 30 times in either Ohio, Minnesota or Arkansas, he continued providing medical care and billing for his services. Dr. Raben also had his license in Pennsylvania and Missouri revoked and he surrendered his license in Texas. While Dr. Raben and his insurance company settled at least three cases in three different states, he continued practicing medicine until his death in 2017.
5. Dr. Raben was not alone in collecting Medicare payments after surrendering his license; in 2015, there were 216 physicians with surrendered or revoked licenses, or who were excluded from the state-paid healthcare rolls, that were on Medicare's payment rolls. All together, those 216 physicians received $25.8 million in 2015.