By Daniel Horowitz Legal Blog | August 25, 2013 at 08:03 PM EDT | No Comments
I’ve been told by close friends in the District Attorney’s office that if I had not won my chiropractic MUA trial in Stockton, there were close to a hundred arrests of chiropractors ready to be made.
The chiropractic profession is extraordinarily vulnerable to attack both through criminal charges and billing disputes brought by the insurance companies.
The initiative which made chiropractic medicine lawful and equal to other types of medical practice, is becoming ancient and cumbersome. Physician’s assistants can assist in surgery after very little real training compared to chiropractors. Why is this? The answer is simple. PA’s save insurance companies money by providing cheaper care than a primary physician. A DC is primary physician (Worker’s Comp) / provider and DC’s, in general, seek to treat a patient on a more regular basis than a PA. In short, DC’s are on the wrong side of the health care financial equation.
Insurance companies know that injured workers tend to seek help from chiropractors when it is the intention of the worker to go back to work. As counter intuitive as this seems, most Worker’s Comp insurers would rather the patient be permanent, stationary, paid a few minor dollars and shunted out the door.
The cost of actually rehabilitating a patient is often far higher than the cost of putting them out to pasture.
The other vulnerability of DC’s is the science of chiropractic medicine. While there are some high quality studies that show improvement with chiropractic care, it is hard to do double blind studies to prove that chiropractic works.
It is also difficult to identify a specific reason that adjustments work. We can talk about the mechanical events that accompany an adjustment, but we cannot yet say why those events lead to a reduction and even resolution of symptoms and/or the condition itself.
Insurance companies know that a jury can be led to believe that chiropractic treatment is simply glorified physical therapy at a much higher cost. The insurers have a stable of hired guns willing to say just that and the chiropractic community lacks the financial strength or political organization to provide counter experts. Every time I’ve had to confront the prosecution experts I have been able to expose their bias and the lack of science behind their criticisms.
BUT …. over time, they seem to be getting stronger. Like the Borg in the Star Trek movies, with each battle, they seem to learn, adapt and become more dangerous.
The insurance companies are also doing a better job of setting up the case before they bring it to the district attorney’s office. The result has been a major increase in attacks on chiropractors for billing fraud, up coding, unlicensed practice of medicine and other fraud based allegations.
I represent chiropractors in many of these cases and so far I have been fortunate enough not to have lost one. But, DC’s have no organization that prepares counter attacks to the insurance industry. Meanwhile the industry knows that even an unsuccessful prosecution causes massive damage to the accused and sends a chill throughout the profession.
In future articles I will discuss some of the early signs that you are being targeted and some of the preventative measures that you can take to protect yourself.