A Nettlesome Case

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close up of word medicare block letter

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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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.