State programs Workers' compensation

California state senator indicted in workers’ comp scheme

Los Angeles – California state Sen. Ron Calderon (D) has been indicted for taking bribes in connection with a workers’ compensation fraud scheme.

Calderon is accused of accepting bribes to preserve a law that was being exploited for the financial gain of hospital owner Michael Drobot, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the central district of California announced in a Feb. 21 press release.

Drobot owned Long Beach, CA-based Pacific Hospital, described by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a “major provider” of spinal surgeries often paid for by workers’ compensation programs.

The now-repealed law, often referred to as the “spinal pass-through,” allowed hospitals to pass on to insurance companies the costs for medical hardware used during spinal surgeries. Drobot admitted to purchasing equipment at inflated prices from companies he controlled and then passing along the costs.

Calderon, who is not implicated in the health care fraud scheme, was charged with taking bribes to preserve the spinal pass-through laws.

According to the indictment, Drobot bribed Calderon with plane trips, golf outings, expensive dinners and a well-paying summer job for the senator’s son.