A Cincinatti-Ohio based spine surgeon is facing federal criminal charges related to millions of dollars in fraudulent billings for unnecessary surgeries. The charges allege that Dr. Atiq Durrani, a well-known Cincinatti spine surgeon, fraudulently billed Medicare and private health insurance companies for unnecessary surgeries involving Medtronic's Infuse bone growth product.
According to the U.S. Attorney's complaint, Dr. Durrani was the attending physician for over $11 million in Medicare billings between February 2010 and January 2013. Dr. Durrani is charged with one count of health care fraud and one count of making false statements in health care matters.
Medtronic's Infuse product is used as a synthetic bone graft during spinal fusion procedures. It was approved by the FDA in 2002 and is used in over 1 million patients Surgeons use Infuse in helping to speed healing and reduce pain after fusion surgeries, however the product itself has recently been the subject of hundreds of lawsuits by patients claiming that the bone growth product has harmed them. These lawsuits against Medtronic involve off-label use of the product, which can result in nerve damage and paralysis.
Although the charges against Dr. Durrani are criminal in nature, he may be subject to civil prosecution as well under the federal False Claims Act. Under the civil False Claims Act, private citizens with knowledge of fraudulent billings to a federal government entity may file a claim in the name of the United States as a "relator" or "whistleblower". Relators who successfully prosecute these claims may receive awards between 15-30% of the damages or settlement amount. The attorneys at Dreyer Boyajian LLP are experienced in prosecuting claims under the federal False Claims Act. If you or someone you know has knowledge of false or fraudulent billings to the federal or state government, contact us for a free consultation to discuss your matter with one of our attorneys. To learn more about our Whistleblower/False Claims Act/Qui Tam practice, click here.