A former Ventura surgeon accused of performing unnecessary spinal surgeries and other misdeeds has been stripped of his license by the California Medical Board. KPCC reported in June that the surgeon, Dr. Aria Sabit, is also one of the targets of a federal investigation into possible kickbacks related to a spinal surgery scheme.
The Medical Board order, issued on Monday, noted that Dr. Aria Sabit had admitted to some of the charges the Board lodged against him, though not those alleging that he performed unnecessary spinal surgeries. Sabit acknowledged that he failed to evaluate one patient’s post-operative neurological problems, and that he “excluded the sacrum from the instrumentation construct” during a scoliosis correction surgery. The surgeon, who has since moved to Michigan, also admitted that he “repeatedly failed to adequately, appropriately and accurately document” the charts of five patients.
The order stipulates that Sabit surrenders his right to seek a reinstatement of his California license in the future.
In June, KPCC reported that the federal Department of Justice is investigating a chain of Physician Owned Distributorships (PODS) set up by a firm called Reliance Medical Systems. In a federal court filing in Michigan, the Justice Department said it is investigating whether Reliance paid kickbacks to 35 physician investors – including Sabit - who used its hardware in spinal surgeries.
Sabit earned $400,000 from Reliance during the time he used its devices in spinal fusions, according to the Justice Department, which also alleges that Sabit’s rate of surgeries involving spinal devices increased dramatically once he became a Reliance investor.
Sabit has repeatedly denied being involved in a POD.
California Medical Board Order re Dr. Aria Sabit