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Long Island Surgeon Agrees to Pay Feds $388,000

He's accused of inflating reimbursements related to kyphoplasties.

Published: August 29, 2013

An orthopedic surgeon from Long Island, N.Y., has agreed to pay the federal government $388,000 to settle allegations that he inflated Medicare reimbursements for kyphoplasty procedures by submitting codes assigned to more complicated surgeries.

The case of Richard S. Obedian, MD, is the latest in a long list of settlements with hospitals and physicians who've allegedly gouged taxpayers through inappropriate conduct related to kyphoplasties. The cases date to 2008, when Medtronic Spine agreed to pay the feds $75 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit claiming the company's predecessor, Kyphon, had encouraged physicians to perform the relatively simple outpatient procedure on an inpatient basis instead, to inflate reimbursements.

Since then, the feds have pursued more than 100 hospitals and collected another $75 million, as we noted here, here, here, here and here.

Dr. Obedian was accused of violating the False Claims Act by using incorrect billing codes throughout 2005.

Jim Burger


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