Sanford execs back neurosurgeon accused of performing unnecessary surgeries

Top executives from Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health wrote an email to employees defending a Sanford neurosurgeon who faces allegations of Medicare fraud, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

The Argus Leader obtained the email, which was sent to employees by Sanford CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft, COO Matthew Hocks and CMO Allison Suttle, MD, after reports were published about a 2016 lawsuit unsealed on June 27. In the email, the executives say they fully support Sanford's physicians.

"No salacious news article will ever accurately capture the lengths our clinicians go to, every day, delivering the best possible patient care," the email says, according to the report. "Sanford will have its day in court and will vigorously defend against the allegations asserted in the complaint."

The lawsuit was filed by Sanford orthopedic surgeon Dustin Bechtold, MD, and Sanford neurosurgeon Bryan Wellman, MD. It alleges their colleague, Wilson Asfora, MD, performed unnecessary spine surgeries using medical devices from his own company. The suit also alleges Sanford Health did not act on complaints about the alleged scheme.

The email says Sanford Health and the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners conducted reviews that discredit the allegations.

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