- Dr. Anil Nanda will remain on paid administrative leave as a faculty member until an outside law firm completes its investigation.
Rutgers has demoted Dr. Anil Nanda as head of the Departments of Neurosurgery at the university’s two medical schools, amid allegations about his professional conduct. The April 8 announcement from the university relieved the high-profile Indian American surgeon from his positions as chair of the Departments of Neurosurgery at New Jersey Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and as Chief of the Neurosurgical Services at University Hospital and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
He is accused of conducting ‘ghost surgeries’ — “the scheduling of multiple operations, parts of which other surgeons may have actually performed or completed.”
A university statement, reported by nj.com, said the decision to relieve the surgeon was made by New Jersey Medical School Dean Robert Johnson, who also serves as Interim Dean of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Johnson said he had “lost confidence in Dr. Nanda’s ability to serve in his administrative leadership roles” and that as dean, he was “taking these steps to meet the needs of the neurosurgery departments, their patients, faculty and staff.” Nanda will remain on paid administrative leave as a faculty member until an outside law firm completes its investigation into the allegations, Rutgers said. The inquiry is being conducted by former New Jersey Comptroller Matthew Boxer, reported nj.com.
In a statement sent to nj.com, Nanda’s attorneys said they will be taking action to “aggressively defend” the surgeon’s reputation. “The ham-fisted actions by New Jersey Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School are completely unjustified and outrageous,” said Michael Critchley and Amy Luria of Critchley, Kinum & Luria in Roseland. “Dr. Nanda has fully cooperated with all inquiries and has discredited the scurrilous and baseless allegations leveled against him. Today’s actions, in violation of clear public policy, are yet another act of retaliation taken by those who are and have been trying to silence Dr. Nanda. Dr. Nanda will aggressively take action to protect his reputation.”
Nanda joined Rutgers in 2018, from Louisiana Medical School’s department of neurosurgery in Shreveport, where he served as chairman until he was demoted to a professor role in 2017. Citing documents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, KTBS-TV, an ABC affiliate in Shreveport, reported that the department’s inspector general found instances where LSU Health had improperly billed Medicare for three concurrent surgeries at Shreveport in some instances where Nanda was not present in the operating room, but the government had been charged as if he had cared for patients directly.
At Rutgers, Nanda was hired on a $2.2 million salary, the nj.com report revealed, making him “one of the highest paid employees at Rutgers.” He is also senior vice president of neurological services at RWJ Barnabas Health, a health services partner of Rutgers. When he was recruited by Rutgers, Nanda was hailed by university officials as someone who would strategically advance Rutgers’ preeminence in the neurosciences
“Since his arrival, however, dozens of faculty, nurses and support staff have left or have been terminated,” nj.com reported, citing former colleagues. The report also cited a lawsuit filed in May by a clinical assistant professor and co-director of pediatric neurological surgery who “charged that she had been a victim of a ‘toxic work environment’ orchestrated by Nanda. He has denied those allegations through his attorney, the nj.com report added.
Nanda’s Rutgers profile describes him as “a global leader in neurosurgery,” who has held “significant leadership roles in professional organizations.” He graduated in 1982 from the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research at Madras University in Pondicherry. “The anatomy of the brain fascinated him during his first year of medical school, and he set his sights on becoming a neurosurgeon,” the profile says.
He completed an internship in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, followed by a residency in general surgery at Rush–Presbyterian–St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago (now Rush University Medical Center); in neurosurgery at Hahnemann University School of Medicine, Philadelphia; and in pediatric neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He also received a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard.