Sanford Health cuts ties with neurosurgeon in center of lawsuit


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — KELOLAND Investigates has learned that Sanford Health has informed Dr. Wilson Asfora that his last day working for the health system will be September 24. The neurosurgeon’s staff was informed of the decision on Tuesday. 

Two Sanford doctors filed a lawsuit in federal court in 2016, accusing Asfora of performing unnecessary surgeries and defrauding the federal government out of tens of millions of dollars. The case was just unsealed in June. 

Dr. C. Dustin Bechtold and Dr. Bryan Wellman, say they brought the concerns to top leadership at Sanford, but Sanford allowed Asfora’s practices to continue in order to make millions in kickbacks from Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs. 

Sanford Health previously told KELOLAND News that, “The allegations in this lawsuit have been investigated and were found to have no merit.”  

In July, Sanford announced it would stop using two medical devices developed by Asfora at the center of the federal lawsuit. But at the time, Sanford said it stood by Asfora and was only stopping the use of Asfora’s bullet cage and the cervical plate in patients as a precaution. 

Asfora owns Medical Designs, the company that makes his devices. The federal lawsuit alleges his personal financial gain influenced his decisions to perform surgery.  

KELOLAND News has reached out to Sanford Health for an interview, as well as Dr. Wilson Asfora. We will update this story when we get those responses.

KELOLAND’s Angela Kennecke is interviewing Dr. Asfora’s former nurse and a patient; look for that story Wednesday on KELOLAND News.

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