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A Nettlesome Case

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Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

A licensed chiropractor in Rockport, Tex., will pay $273,000 to settle allegations that she falsely billed Medicare for the use of acupuncture devices. Stacy Hawkins is also the chief financial officer of Rockport Physical Medicine, PA.

The company billed Medicare for the implantation of neurostimulator electrodes—a costly surgical procedure. However, Hawkins and clinic staff did not perform surgery. (This part is actually the good news, since chiropractors are not physicians—and not trained or allowed to perform surgery.)

Instead, the practice outfitted patients with devices used for electro-acupuncture, inserting needles into patients’ ears and taping the neurostimulators behind their ears with adhesive. (Wouldn’t you love to know what they do to bill for an MRI?) Medicare doesn’t reimburse for electro-acupuncture devices as implantable neurostimulators. (Seeing as how they aren’t, you know, implanted.)

Apparently, there has been a bit of a Medicare misbilling outbreak. Two other settlements in the Southern District of Texas, with an anesthesiologist and a pain doctor, involved similar allegations of false billing. (Is there a vaccine for that yet?)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, “Chiropractor pays to settle allegations arising from electro-acupuncture device billing,” dated April 7, 2021.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The chief financial officer of Rockport Physical Medicine PA has agreed to pay $273,000 to resolve allegations she falsely billed Medicare for the use of acupuncture devices, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Stacy Hawkins, 54, is a licensed chiropractor in Rockport.

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