DOJ continues kickback crackdown: 4 big cases in spine this year

Alan Condon -   Print  |

The U.S. Department of Justice continued its crackdown on unlawful kickback arrangements this year, with four big spine cases catching the attention of Becker's readers:

1. In October, Medtronic USA agreed to pay over $9.2 million to settle allegations that it footed the bill for events benefiting a South Dakota-based neurosurgeon to induce him to use certain implantable devices. Over a nine-year period, Medtronic allegedly paid for more than 100 events at the surgeon's restaurant and did not properly report these payments to CMS. 

2. In August, a Missouri-based spine surgeon and Kansas-based distributor pleaded guilty to charges that included conspiring to pay and receive kickbacks and obstruction of justice. The kickback scheme involved an unnamed medical device company that paid the surgeon $379,000 in "sham consulting fees," according to the DOJ.

3. A Virginia-based spine surgeon agreed to pay the DOJ $1.75 million in April to settle allegations that he accepted kickbacks from SpineFrontier. The DOJ alleged that the surgeon accepted illegal kickbacks from a "sham" entity and consulting payments from SpineFrontier for time spent during surgeries for which Medicare and other government healthcare programs were already paying him.

4. In February, a Colorado-based neurosurgeon paid the federal government $2.35 million to settle claims that he violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act. The surgeon was accused of secretly running two implant distribution companies that sold implants to three Colorado hospitals where he performed spine surgeries. 

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