CINCINNATI – A Kentucky medical board has suspended the license of Mason spine surgeon Dr. Atiq Durrani, and Ohio could take action as early as next week, WCPO has learned.
The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure issued an "emergency order of suspension" following Durrani's latest federal indictment on multiple charges of health care fraud.
“The Inquiry Panel Chair concludes there is probable cause to believe this licensee’s practice constitutes a danger to the health, welfare and safety of his patients or the general public,” wrote Randel C. Gibson, D.O., citing the indictment in an eight-page order.
The State Medical Board of Ohio has not taken any action against Durrani but could when it meets next week, spokesperson Joan Wehrle told 9 On Your Side Friday.
“We are very aware of Dr. Durrani’s situation,” Wehrle said.
Durrani’s attorney, Michael Lyon of Cincinnati, said Durrani “absolutely” will appeal the Kentucky suspension.
“This thing has got so many moving parts,” Lyon told WCPO Friday. “We’re fighting the State Medical Board of Ohio and the problem with Kentucky is, it’s a summary suspension, so they won’t consider it until the criminal case is terminated. I don’t hold out hope of getting anything out of an appeal until the criminal case is terminated, and that could be a long time.”
Durrani’s criminal trial is scheduled for Jan. 13.
Durrani owns a private practice called the Centers for Advanced Spine Technologies (CAST) with offices in Mason and Florence and performs surgeries at JourneyLite in Evendale, where he is part owner.
Once Durrani appeals his Kentucky suspension, an appeal hearing must be scheduled within 10 days of his request, Gibson wrote in the order.
Read the suspension order below or go to https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/816661-kentucky-suspends-license-of-dr-atiq-durrani.html
Northern Kentucky attorney Eric Deters, who represents more than 160 patients in civil suits against Durrani, was in a deposition and was not available to comment, a staffer said.
Deters has vilified Durrani in numerous interviews, but his website says he and his staff are under judicial gag orders prohibiting them from “publicly discussing the Durrani cases.”
The latest 36-count federal indictment, filed Oct. 17, accuses Durrani of making false diagnoses and performing or attempting unnecessary surgeries on 10 patients.
In the civil suits, many Durrani patients claim their conditions were worsened by Durrani’s surgery.
Previous indictments accused Durrani of billing private and public health-care programs millions of dollars for fraudulent services in a scheme that began in 2008.
The latest indictment also alleges that:
> Durrani scheduled a patient for surgery on Sept. 22, 2010 but allowed another surgeon, who was not approved as a Medicare provider, to do it. Durrani was present only briefly. But the surgery was billed to Medicare and listed Durrani as the primary surgeon.
> Durrani pre-signed blank prescription pads and instructed others to write Oxycodone orders for 12 patients while he was out of the country in 2012 and 2013.
> After leaving a broken guidewire in a patient in 2009, Durrani failed to tell the patient during repeated office visits paid by a healthcare program. When the patient eventually confronted Durrani, the doctor denied leaving the guidewire in the patient. Durrani then recommended another surgery, paid by the healthcare program, and removed the guidewire without telling the patient.
Durrani pleaded not guilty Aug. 19 to the previous charges.
The federal charges carry a potential prison sentence of up to 125 years. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of any proceeds Durrani received as a result of his alleged scheme.
The government alleges that:
> Durrani’s unnecessary surgeries resulted in serious bodily injury to some patients.
> Durrani would falsely say the patient was at risk of grave injuries without the surgery.
> Durrani often did not read or ignored X-rays that he ordered.
> Durrani would order a pain injection for a level of the spine that was inconsistent with the pain stated by the patient or the imaging.
> Durrani lied to colleagues and hospitals in order to further his scheme.
Durrani performed surgery at West Chester Hospital UC Health, Children's Hospital, Good Samaritan, Christ and Deaconess, but he no longer has privileges at any of those hospitals, the indictment says.
The indictment says Durrani made false statements to hospitals as part of his application. He concealed peer review or disciplinary activity by other hospitals and malpractice actions that had been filed against him, it says.
It also says Durrani falsely told a patient that he could not operate on her at West Chester because her insurance could not be accepted there in order to conceal the fact his privileges were suspended.
Deters has sued Children's Hospital on behalf of more than 120 patients, claiming the hospital covered up Durrani’s “incompetence and negligence,” failed to report that he had been fired or resigned in lieu of firing, and paid for settling a lawsuit against him.
Deters’ suit says those clients had surgery from Durrani at West Chester or Journey Lite after Durrani had left Children’s in 2008. It alleges that Children’s withheld “truthful and accurate information” about Durrani and the plaintiffs never would have accepted Durrani’s treatment if they had known his history.