On July 28, 2014, argusleader.com of Argus Leader Media headlined “Sanford settled lawsuit alleging kickbacks to doctors”. The article reported “Sanford Health paid the federal government $625,000.00…to settle a [Medicare] whistle-blower lawsuit which claimed…doctors engaged in a kickback scheme to encourage use of a spinal implant,” the so-called Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion a/k/a Asfora Bullet Cage.
The alleged kickback scheme involved a “physician-owner distributorship” (“POD”). Argus Leader Media reported further: “PODs are controversial because they enable physicians who invest in them to profit from the devices they implant in patients. That leads to concerns that surgeons will perform unnecessary surgeries [plus not disclose to patients their financial self-interest, implicating medical ethics and medical malpractice]”.