Tacoma, Wash.-based MultiCare Health was sued by the U.S. and the state alleging they hired Jason Dreyer, DO, knowing he was accused of performing medically unnecessary spine surgeries.
Dr. Dreyer performed cases at MultiCare Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, Wash., between 2019 and 2021, according to a Jan. 26 news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of Washington. In 2019 he resigned from Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla, Wash., amid allegations he was falsifying diagnoses and doing unnecessary cases.
Last year, Dr. Dreyer paid $1.17 million to settle allegations he performed medically unnecessary neurosurgeries. He and another spine surgeon, Daniel Elskens, DO, faced the allegations during their time at Providence St. Mary Medical Center.
A 2022 class action lawsuit accused Dr. Dreyer of operating on a woman's neck without recommending conservative treatment first. A series of spine surgeries in the following years allegedly led to permanent damage.
The Justice Department is now accusing MultiCare of endangering patients and falsely and fraudulently claiming and receiving reimbursement for medically unnecessary spine care. The Justice Department also alleges the health system became aware of "red flags" about Dr. Dreyer but chose to hire him because he was a "workhorse." In October 2019 the health system allegedly saw Dr. Dreyer was performing a high volume of cases, and he was put on an incentive compensation structure to encourage increased volume and more complex surgeries.
A spokesperson for MultiCare told Becker's the system is aware of the allegations and "believe them to be unfounded and without merit." The health system plans to defend itself.
"We can assure you that MultiCare's commitment to our mission — partnering for healing and a healthy future — and our dedication to the health of the communities we serve is as strong as ever," the statement said. "The safety of our patients is and will always be our highest priority."