Neurosurgeon hit with false claims complaint after Sanford's $20M settlement

The federal government has filed a False Claims Act complaint against Wilson Asfora, MD, and two medical device distributorships owned and operated by Dr. Asfora, according to the Department of Justice.

Dr. Asfora was previously employed by Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health. In October, Sanford agreed to pay $20.25 million to resolve allegations that officials knew Dr. Asfora was receiving kickbacks from using devices distributed by a company he owned. The alleged scheme created an incentive for Dr. Asfora to perform unnecessary surgeries.

The government's complaint against Dr. Asfora alleges he received kickbacks for using spinal devices distributed by Medical Designs and Sicage, the distributorships he owned and operated.

"Despite receiving numerous warnings that he was performing medically unnecessary procedures with the devices in which he had a financial interest, [Dr.] Asfora allegedly continued to perform such procedures while personally profiting from his use of devices sold by Medical Designs and Sicage," according to the Justice Department.

Two physicians originally filed the complaint against Sanford under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act. After the complaint was unsealed this summer, Sanford cut ties with Dr. Asfora.

Regarding Sanford's settlement, Dr. Asfora released the following statement to the Argus Leader in October:

"I want to make my position clear. I did not perform any unnecessary surgeries and I did not do any surgeries for the purpose of profiting from using medical devices I invented. I stand by my work as a physician and made every single medical decision based solely on my judgment as to what was the best for my patient, not myself. I am disappointed that after originally accurately identifying the relators' and the government's accusations as 'bogus,' Sanford made business decisions that led it to fire me and pay my accusers over $20 million, but, sadly, for some, business is just business."  

More articles on legal and regulatory issues:

Investment bank sues Georgia hospital for $4.7M in unpaid fees
Dignity Health must face class action over ER fees, court rules
Promise Healthcare accuses former CEO of interfering in hospital deal

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2019. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

 

Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months