Feds Probe Pacific Hospital of Long Beach for Alleged Kickbacks to Spine Surgeons

The U.S. attorney for the Central District of California is investigating Pacific Hospital of Long Beach (Calif.) for alleged kickbacks and improper payments stemming from an implant distributorship, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Michael C. Drobot purchased the 184-bed hospital in 1997 and focused on its spine center that treats many workers' compensation patients. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the hospital and a spinal-implant distributorship owned by Mr. Drobot earlier this month, according to the report.

People familiar with the investigation said it is focused on claims that Mr. Drobot operated a kickback scheme in which he allegedly paid physicians thousands of dollars for each spine surgery case they referred to Pacific Hospital.

Federal agents are probing allegations that Mr. Drobot paid surgeons, who agreed to use his distributorship's implants, $15,000 for each lumbar fusion and $7,500 for each cervical fusion they performed at Pacific Hospital, sources familiar with the investigation said in the report. Physicians who did not use his implants were allegedly paid smaller sums.

A spokesperson for the hospital said the facility is cooperating with authorities on the matter and that "Mr. Drobot and the hospital categorically deny any accusation of impropriety concerning the hospital's outstanding and world-class spinal treatment program," according to the report.

More Articles on Hospitals and Investigations:

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OIG Issues Special Fraud Alert on Physician-Owned Distributorships

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