April 10, 2024

Shutting down of ASC prompts $500M lawsuit from spine surgeon against state of Florida

Editor's Note

The Bonati Spine Institute, based in Hudson, Florida, filed a $500 million lawsuit in federal court against the state of Florida, Business Observer April 4 reports. The lawsuit accuses the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) of wrongful shutdown, civil rights violations, conspiracy, defamation, and libel.

This legal action follows the March 2023 emergency suspension of the license of Medical Development Corp, the institute's affiliated ambulatory surgery center (ASC), over allegations that a surgical technologist improperly conducted an "entire spine surgery." Dr Alfred Bonati, the institute's chief surgeon who has developed minimally invasive spine surgery techniques, denies that allegation and accuses Florida’s AHCA of attempting to tarnish his and the institute's reputation. Dr. Bonati claims significant financial and reputational damages to himself and his practice, which has been operational since 1981.

The complaint names three AHCA employees who allegedly investigated the matter and claims instances of state officials interfering with the institute's operations after the initial suspension, leading to further disruptions at a Tampa ASC where Dr Bonati's team sought to continue patient care. A settlement allowed Medical Development Corp to resume operations in July 2023, with no public comment from AHCA.

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