Physicians accuse Sanford Health of defrauding Medicare: 5 things to know

A lawsuit two physicians filed in 2016 against Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health and one of its neurosurgeons was unsealed last week after the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of South Dakota filed a motion to intervene in the case, according to the Argus Leader.

Five things to know:

1. The lawsuit alleges one of Sanford's neurosurgeons, Wilson Asfora, MD, performed unnecessary spine surgeries.

2. The complaint alleges Sanford purchased medical devices from a company Dr. Asfora owned. This alleged scheme created an incentive for Dr. Asfora to perform unnecessary surgeries because he implanted the medical devices into patients, according to the complaint.

3. The lawsuit alleges Sanford's leadership covered up Dr. Asfora's surgical errors and ignored complaints from physicians that Dr. Asfora was performing unnecessary surgeries, according to the Argus Leader.

4. The complaint alleges that the health system and Dr. Asfora billed Medicare for care that wasn't provided.

5. In a statement to the Argus Leader, Sanford Health CMO Allison Suttle, MD, defended Dr. Asfora and denied the allegations.

"Dr. Wilson Asfora is an exceptionally talented surgeon who provides excellent care to his patients," Dr. Suttle said. "His unique skills and expertise are a great asset to our region. He has saved the lives of hundreds of patients. The allegations in this lawsuit have been investigated and were found to have no merit. Sanford Health is confident in the care provided to our patients and will continue to provide quality care. We will vigorously defend this baseless suit."

Access the full Argus Leader article here.

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