Sanford Health doctor accused of performing unnecessary surgeries defrauding the federal government out of tens of millions of dollars

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – A Sioux Falls doctor is accused of performing unnecessary surgeries while the hospital where he worked is accused of doing nothing to stop them in order to make millions of dollars in kickbacks from Medicaid, Medicare and other health programs.

A massive lawsuit against Sanford Health and one of its neurosurgeons, Dr. Wilson Asfora, has just been unsealed in federal court and the allegations are serious.

The more than 100-page complaint filed in 2016 alleges a neurosurgeon with Sanford Health defrauded the federal government, performed unnecessary surgeries and violated the law.

Dr. Wilson Asfora is accused of selling medical devices to Sanford. Asfora would then implant the devices in patients who suffered lower back pain starting back in May of 2011.

The two doctors who filed the lawsuit, Dr. C. Dustin Bechtold and Dr. Bryan Wellman, say they brought the concerns to top leadership at Sanford, but Sanford allowed it to continue to benefit from it.

The lawsuit details several examples of these alleged unnecessary procedures.

The lawsuit says all of these improper procedures by Dr. Asfora risk patient harm.

In one instance, a patient developed paralysis. He also allegedly performed unnecessary surgeries on a patient with blood clots.

Dr. Asfora is also accused of a cover up in the lawsuit, with claims he fabricated and falsified medical records to cover his alleged mistakes.

The lawsuit says the United States suffered substantial losses in an amount that exceeds tens of millions of dollars and is entitled to those damages to be determined at trial.

KELOLAND News reached out to Sanford Health for comment.

Dr. Wilson Asfora is a talented surgeon, and we are confident in the care provided to our patients. The allegations in this lawsuit have been investigated and were found to have no merit. We’re confident the court system will agree – although it will likely be a long, drawn-out process which, from our understanding, could take up to five years.

–        Paul Hanson, President, Sanford Sioux Falls

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