Dr. Aria Sabit pleads guilty to unnecessary spine surgery, faces 11+ years in prison — 5 things to know

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

Aria Sabit, MD, a neurosurgeon formerly practicing in Michigan, pled guilty to performing unnecessary spine surgery and billing insurance companies and the government unlawfully, according to a Detroit Free Press report.

Here are five things to know:

 

1. Dr. Sabit pled guilty to two cases where he convinced patients to undergo spinal fusions with devices he hadn't used, but billed for. He also admitted to billing for implants when he used tissue instead during his procedures.

 

2. The U.S. Attorney's Office reported Dr. Sabit billed insurance companies and the government $11 million unlawfully.

 

3. Dr. Sabit has a history of issues; since 2011, he pled guilty to four counts of healthcare fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and one count of unlawfully distributing a controlled substance.

 

4. He faces nine to 11-plus years in prison under the terms of his plea agreement.

 

5. Before moving to Michigan in 2011, Dr. Sabit practiced in California and was also involved in a physician-owned distributorship that paid illegal kickbacks tied to the volume and complexity of surgeries the physician owners performed. The Department of Justice in California brought two civil False Claims Act cases against him, which Dr. Sabit still faces.

 

He was previously detained after attempting to fly to Dubai in September when the billing fraud charges came to light. He was born in Afghanistan but obtained United States citizenship last year.

 

More articles on spine surgery:
Which spinal cord injury medicolegal lawsuits are surgeons more likely to win? 5 key notes
MIS SI joint fusions: 5 key notes on the NASS coverage recommendation
The economics of robotic spine surgery—Why it could have a place in the future

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