Dr. Anil Nanda

Dr. Anil Nanda speaks to KTBS in 2018.

NEW JERSEY -- Dr. Anil Nanda, the renowned neurosurgeon who left LSU Health Shreveport three years ago amid questions about billing practices for surgical work, has been suspended by his current employer in New Jersey while an outside law firm investigates allegations of “ghost surgeries.”

Nanda, head of the Department of Neurosurgery at Rutgers University’s two medical schools, was put on paid administrative leave in November. A letter to the board of regents for one of the hospitals where Nanda works said there were claims Nanda was not “fully present” in the operating room during portions of procedures he had scheduled, the Newark Star Ledger reported on the website nj.com. Those allegations of “ghost surgeries” are similar to ones made against Nanda when he worked in Shreveport.

Rutgers University has retained the law firm of former state comptroller Matthew Boxer to investigate allegations of the surgeries. Rutgers officials would not comment on the status of that investigation, other than to confirm that it was ongoing, according to a report in nj.com

Rutgers brings in ex-N.J. comptroller to probe allegations of ‘ghost surgeries’ tied to top neurosurgeon

Nanda’s attorney declined comment on the situation, the Star-Ledger reported.

Nanda was chairman of LSU Health Shreveport’s neurosurgery department until he was demoted to a professor role in 2017. He left the medical school the following year to become chairman of the neurosurgery departments at New Jersey’s Rutgers University and Robert Wood Johnson medical schools. 

Nanda and LSU Health refused to say why he was demoted, but documents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said its inspector general found instances where Nanda had been improperly double-billing for surgeries in Shreveport, including instances where he was not present in the operating room but billed the government as if he were.

In a civil settlement with the government near the time of Nanda’s demotion, LSU Health Shreveport paid more than $700,000 in fines and restitution. No criminal allegations were ever made against Nanda, who worked in Shreveport for 28 years. 

Although Rutgers would not discuss its investigation, two people familiar with the situation said a hospital had received complaints about the scheduling of two operations that other surgeons might have actually performed. In at least one of those cases, Nanda was attending a virtual symposium, according to the sources, who spoke on condition they not be identified because it is an ongoing investigation.

 (nj.com contributed to this report)