Doctor Cut People Open For $11 Million
A doctor conducted unnecessary neurosurgery, seriously harming his patients, to defraud Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies of more than $11 million.
Aria Sabit, 39, a Detroit-area neurosurgeon, pleaded guilty on May 22 for four counts of healthcare fraud, one count of conspiracy and one count of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance.
“Disregarding his Hippocratic oath to do no harm, Dr. 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,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a statement.
Sabit admitted he defrauded both private and public healthcare programs by convincing patients to undergo spinal fusion surgeries, but wouldn’t actually implant the necessary medical instruments.
“This invasive surgery caused serious bodily injury to the patients,” according to the statement.
Sabit documented that the instruments were used, however, to support his fraud.
Sabit was also a part owner of Apex Medical Technologies LLC, which gave large, illegal kickbacks to neurosurgeons for using the company’s devices.
Sabit admitted he was one of the operators of the kickback scheme and convinced hospitals to buy Apex devices. The company’s co-owners concealed his role so that Sabit could require his multiple practices across eastern Michigan to use Apex devices without suspicion.
“Sabit admitted that his involvement in Apex … caused him to compromise his medical judgment and cause serious bodily injury to his patients by performing medically unnecessary spine surgeries …” according to the statement
He also admitted that the money he made from Apex motivated him to refer patients for unneeded or unnecessarily complex surgeries. He also implanted more devices than necessary “in order to generate more sales revenue for Apex,” according to the statement.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 15, 2015.
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