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Spine surgeon accused of bilking Medicare

CINCINNATI (AP) — A spine surgeon in the Cincinnati area has been charged with fraudulently billing Medicare and other benefit programs for millions after subjecting patients to unnecessary operations.

The FBI arrested Atiq (AH'-teek) Durrani (Dur-RAH'-nee) on Thursday on charges of health care fraud and making false statements in health care matters. He could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted on both.

Durrani has offices in suburban Evendale, Ohio, and Florence, Ky., with a private practice called Center for Advanced Spine Technologies. Federal authorities allege that many patients wound up with worse neck and back pain after he performed unneeded spinal surgeries.

Durrani's attorney said in court that the federal allegations don't consider the hundreds of thousands of people he has treated successfully. Durrani returns to court Aug. 19.

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