Complaint alleges neurosurgeon, Sanford Health defrauded Medicare with spine surgeries: 4 things to know


A lawsuit filed against Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health and one of its neurosurgeons alleging fraud and patient harm was unsealed last week after the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of South Dakota filed a motion to intervene, according to the Argus Leader.


Four things to know:

1. In the lawsuit, two physicians accuse Wilson Asfora, MD, of performing unnecessary spine surgeries with devices made by a company he owned. He and Sanford Health also allegedly billed Medicare for services that weren't delivered.

2. Sanford Health chief medical officer Allison Suttle, MD, denied the allegations in a story published by the Argus Leader, saying Dr. Asfora was investigated but the allegations did not have merit.

3. Prior to the initial lawsuit, in October 2015, Sanford Health fired Dr. Asfora but reinstated him after two weeks.

4. In 2014, Sanford and Dr. Asfora agreed to pay $625,000 for anti-kickback violations associated with a physician-owned distributorship, according to the Argus Leader.


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