Sanford Health agrees to pay more than $20 million to settle lawsuit

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. ( — Sanford Health has agreed to pay more than $20 million to settle a federal lawsuit.

The suit involved alleged kickback schemes by a Sanford Physician, Dr. Wilson Asfora.

Asfora was accused of illegally profiting from medical devices he invented.

The suit alleged that Sanford Health knew about the kickbacks.

“Kickbacks can compromise a physician’s medical judgment, result in unnecessary procedures, and increase healthcare costs for everyone,” says Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. 

The Justice Department says the settlement resolves allegations that Sanford knew that one of its top neurosurgeons was improperly receiving kickbacks from his use of implantable devices distributed by his physician-owned distributorship (POD).  

“Kickback schemes and other improper financial incentives create inherent conflicts of interest and warp the medical decision-making process,” says U.S. Attorney for South Dakota, Ron Parsons.

Sanford released the following statement on the settlement:

Sanford Health is committed to providing the highest quality care to our patients. Sanford denies any liability or wrongdoing in regards to this settlement. We chose to settle because the amount is far less than the unnecessary costs and operational disruption that would have persisted for multiple years. We continue to stand behind the medical care that Dr. Wilson Asfora, who was a Sanford physician from 2007 to 2019, provided to his patients. We remain committed to our providers doing what is best for their patients and supporting them in bringing innovative interventions and treatments to patients and communities.   – Matt Hocks, chief operating officer at Sanford Health