A New York arbitrator has awarded $140 million to resolve 255 medical malpractice suits against ex-orthopedic surgeon Spyros Panos.
Panos, a 50-year-old resident of Hopewell Junction, New York, will not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
JT Wisell of Wisell & McGee, whose firm represented more than half of the plaintiffs that sued Panos, said that the settlement represents “total vindication for people who were lied to by Dr. Panos.”
Panos’ practice carried three layers of insurance, but there is still not enough money to cover all of the damages that were awarded. Claims will be paid by Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company and Healthcare Professionals Insurance Company. Individual plaintiffs’ awards will range from $15,500 to $3.8 million.
This award comes six years after Panos lost his license to practice medicine after pleading guilty to defrauding insurers out of more than $2.5 million by billing for surgeries that were never done and inflating costs. He served two and a half years in federal prison.
Between the time that he pleaded guilty and serving his prison sentence, Panos created a company where he claimed that a licensed orthopedic surgeon was conducting peer reviews. However, the doctor whose credentials were used did not authorize Panos to use the information to be used and never received any of the fees that were false represented to have been performed. Panos allegedly billed more than $860,000 in Workers’ Compensation case reviews that he was not licensed to perform before his scheme was found out. See OTW’s coverage of that incident here: Thousands of Insurance Appeals Went to a Fraud.
Panos is still awaiting federal charges in that case. He is currently free on $1 million bond with electronic home monitoring with a status hearing set for March 7 at the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York.