In March, a Virginia-based surgeon became the sixth doctor to pay a settlement to the government following a healthcare fraud complaint. The civil complaint was filed by the Massachusetts District US Attorney against medical device manufacturers SpineFrontier, Inc. and Impartial Medical Expert, LLC.
Dr. Jeffery Carlson, received thousands of dollars worth of kickbacks from the companies in exchange for fraudulent consultations. The companies paid around $8 million in total kickbacks over the course of five years.
The complaint alleged that consulting fees were used as a way to encourage the surgeons to use the companies’ devices during medical procedures paid for by public healthcare. Companies are prohibited by Federal law from paying off physicians in exchange for using their products.
These laws help protect patients by requiring doctors to use devices best suited for the procedure itself, rather than which devices would benefit the surgeon financially.
A study conducted by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Medicine showed that healthcare fraud is a cause of premature death among patients.
Those patients are up to 17% more likely to die at the hands of a healthcare professional committing fraud, according to the research. Fraud cases are also costly on a Federal level, racking up billions of dollars in lawsuits and settlements every year.
For patients who’ve been the victim of medical fraud, the risks and repercussions can have lasting effects. Anyone who has been affected by medical fraud should seek legal counsel.