Former hospital owner receives 5-year prison sentence for paying spine surgery kickbacks — 5 things to know

Megan Wood -   Print  |

Former Long Beach, Calif.-based Pacific Hospital owner Michael D. Drobot, was found guilty of healthcare fraud, as reported by the United States Attorney's Office Central District of California.

Here are five things to know:


1. As owner of Pacific Hospital, Mr. Drobot concocted a plan to pay physicians illegal kickbacks to refer workers' compensation patients to the hospital for spine surgeries.


2. The Department of Justice report noted Mr. Drobot offered a $15,000 kickback for a lumbar fusion surgery and a $10,000 kickback for a cervical fusion surgery, and bribed physicians to perform spine surgery at his hospital.


3. The 15-year scheme amounted to $500 million in fraudulent bills and $40 million in illegal kickbacks.


4. Mr. Drobot paid most of the kickbacks through medical device sales for state workers' compensation patients undergoing spine surgery. A California "pass-through" law, which is now repealed, let hospitals bill workers' compensation payers the total implanted device cost for spine surgeries. He owned the company, International Implants, and would add $250 to every device his company sold to Pacific Hospital. Under the "pass-through" law, California had to pay the total cost of devices.


5. Mr. Drobot will serve a five-year and three-month federal prison sentence for conspiracy and paying illegal kickbacks.


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