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Newport News surgeon settles kickback lawsuit for $1.75 million

Dr. Jeffrey Carlson accepted kickbacks for using SpineFrontier products, and received consulting payments for the time he spent performing surgeries.
Gavel and Stethoscope

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — An orthopedic spine surgeon from Newport News paid $1.75 million last Friday to settle a lawsuit where he was accused of accepting kickbacks from SpineFrontier.

A release from the U.S. Department of Justice said Dr. Jeffrey Carlson had accepted kickbacks through a sham company for using SpineFrontier products, and received consulting payments from them for the time he spent performing surgeries. He was already being paid for those hours by Medicare and other federal programs.

Carlson also accepted meals for himself and his staff every day he worked with a SpineFrontier product, which the release said added up to be thousands of dollars worth of food. 

Carlson serves as the president and managing partner of Orthopaedic & Spine Center in Newport News. He had previously served as the chief of surgery at Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News.

The United States Attorney for Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, spoke about the case. SpineFrontier is a Masachusetts-based company.

"This settlement continues our commitment to ensuring that doctors choose medical products solely on the basis of what is best for the patient, and not what is best for the surgeon’s pockets," said Lelling. "We will investigate any doctor, like Dr. Carlson, who accepts money from a device manufacturer simply for using that company’s products."

He also said manufacturers, like SpineFrontier have to "play by the rules."

Carlson is the sixth doctor who has settled a lawsuit about taking kickbacks from SpineFrontier. The government filed a False Claims Act against the company in March.

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