Do You Trust Your Surgeon?

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If there is one person you can trust with your life, most certainly it would be your highly-trained medical professional, right? Guess again.

Dr. Ario Sabit, a 39 year-old neurosurgeon from Detroit, pleaded guilty to performing invasive and fraudulent surgeries, resulting in more than $11 million billed illegally to Medicare and Medicaid. To commit such a crime, Sabit convinced patients to undergo spinal fusion surgeries with instrumentation designed to strengthen and stabilize the spine. However, such an instrument was both unnecessary for surgery and expensive for insurance companies to cover, resulting in permanent bodily injury for the patients.

Assistant Attorney General Caldwell stated that Sabit “...enriched himself by performing unnecessary, invasive spinal surgeries and implanting costly and unnecessary medical devices, all at the expense of his patients’ health and welfare.” 

The root of Sabit’s scheme can be found in his involvement with Apex Medical Technologies LLC, a supply chain distributor owned jointly by physicians, dating back to 2010. Apex paid illegal kickbacks to surgeons based on the volume and complexity of surgeries performed, as well as the quantity of spinal instruments purchased. Sabit convinced his hospital to purchase spinal devices exclusively from Apex in order to reap the financial benefits.

In addition to his termination and over 30 patients filing malpractice lawsuits, Sabit pleaded guilty to four counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, and one count of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance.

Summary by Chris D'Arrigo

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Christopher D’Arrigo currently works as a Financial Operations Manager for Blackboard, Inc. in Doylestown, PA, and is a contributor to Medical Groups. Chris graduated from Saint Joseph’s University with a focus in Accounting and enjoys studying the financial trends and technological developments of the healthcare industry.