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Spokane neurosurgeon, accused of pushing spinal surgeries for profit, has license restricted

UPDATED: Mon., March 15, 2021

A Spokane neurosurgeon’s license to operate was restricted Monday as he faces allegations that he pushed spine surgeries on multiple patients who didn’t need them.

Dr. Jason Dreyer has 20 days to appeal the Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery’s March 12 decision.

He can not perform spine surgeries while that process is ongoing, the Department of Health announced in a news release on Monday.

Dreyer, who has been licensed since 2013 and practices at the MultiCare Rockwood Clinic Neurosurgery and Spine Center in Spokane, was accused of overstating diagnoses and performing more invasive spine surgeries than what was required on several patients for his personal financial gain.

“MultiCare requires all physicians, whether they are employed by MultiCare or not, to be in good standing with the state to practice medicine at our facilities. We await the results of the state’s investigation,” Kevin Maloney, a spokesman for MultiCare, wrote in an email to The Spokesman-Review.

The incidents in question occurred between 2014 and 2017 while Dreyer was a surgeon at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla.

He allegedly showed a pattern of performing “extensive spine surgeries without any clear medical indications,” according to Department of Health documents.

“The allegations are that multiple patients have undergone unnecessary spine surgeries, sometimes multiple spine surgeries, placing them at risk of harm,” wrote the panel of doctors overseeing the board’s review.

According to the administrative charges against Dreyer, he would overstate the “dynamic instability” in patients’ diagnoses and steer them into spinal fusion surgeries that were needlessly invasive and not supported by the evidence in patient records. The panel documented seven such cases and noted that he would often use “ ‘cut and paste’ template language in patients’ charts.”

In one case in August 2016, Dreyer recommended multilevel surgery for a 34-year-old man who had experienced back pain for about six years. But the radiographic images only indicated a “very mild disease,” wrote the Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery’s panel.

Later that month, Dreyer would perform a spinal fusion surgery on a 55-year-old man that was not supported by an MRI.

An attempt to reach Dreyer at his office on Monday was unsuccessful.

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