Following a civil complaint filed in Los Angeles, a lawsuit has been filed accusing fifteen surgeons, seventeen hospitals and more than a dozen other participants nationwide of facilitating a counterfeit, non-FDA approved spinal hardware ring. This massive health care fraud scheme was filed in February 2015, and alleges that hospitals and doctors across the country used and were billed for fake surgical hardware as early as 2007. The company that manufactured these items, California-based Spinal Solutions, LLC, “insidiously co-mingled fake implantable hardware with genuine parts,” and sent them to be implanted in patients at hospitals in California, Texas, Maryland, Wisconsin and Nevada.
According to the complaint, the counterfeit rods and cages began production in 2007 at a tool shop in Temecula, CA, and were delivered by private jet. Allegedly, surgeons at hospitals nationwide who entered into agreements with the false agency were paid kickbacks of over $450,000. These surgeons are also accused of accepting cash bribes, free airplane rides, meals, vacations and other perks in return for referring patients to hospitals that used the fake parts. The complaint also names some diagnostic facilities that received bribes for creating false reports to justify the need for surgeries. There are also hospitals named in the states mentioned above that turned a ‘blind eye,’ by submitting false and misleading billings to health insurance companies.
It is estimated that patients who have been implanted with the non-FDA approved parts number in the thousands. “Doctors I know do 300 to 500 cases a year. There could be thousands of screws and parts used in this situation,” stated the president for the Association for Medical Ethics, Scott Lederhaus. “It doesn’t surprise me. This has got to end. The spine industry is corrupt and it needs a washing from top to bottom.”
Spinal Solutions is also currently facing another lawsuit for significantly marking up the prices of their spinal hardware. In one situation, six screw caps that cost $2,850 were marked up and sold to a hospital for $17,370, causing the insurance carrier to receive a bill for $49,260.
If you have received a spinal implant in the state of California from any of the following surgeons: Jack Akmakjian, Khalid Ahmed, Darren Bergery, Edward Kolpin, John Joseph Regan, Mitchell Cohen, Justin Paquette, Roger Shortz, or Gurvinder Uppal, please contact the lawyers at Hodes Milman Liebeck today. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call (949) 640-8222 for a complimentary case evaluation.