Each year, licensed chiropractors treat an estimated 35 million Americans. Judging from the patient satisfaction numbers, which are usually above 95%, these professionals do a good job. Yet even today, some people consider spinal manipulation to be a sort of pseudo-science.
So, it is little surprise that the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation is so aggressive when it comes to chiropractic licenses. Many of the cases the IDFPR pursues involve self-inflicted wounds which the practitioner may not even know are wrong. So, assertive and experienced representation is a key to a successful outcome.
Sexual Relationship with a Patient
Most people do not need to be reminded about behavior that is clearly over the line. But as far as the IDFPR is concerned, “sexual relationship” is incredibly broad. This phrase encompasses not only sexual acts but also touching, gestures, and perhaps even speech. Also be aware that, in most cases, minors cannot consent to any such activity as a matter of law.
Complicating matters even further, there are many cultural, age, and other differences involved. What one person considers appropriate or acceptable may be clearly inappropriate or unacceptable to someone else. So, always put yourself in your patient’s shoes. If you unintentionally violate your patient’s space, do not apologize and try to talk yourself out of it. That approach hardly ever works. Instead, reach out to an attorney, and let your lawyer handle it.
In this context, “fraud” has several different meanings. Many times, the IDFPR scrutinizes insurance billing fraud. That could be improper use of codes. It could also be two sets of fee schedules - one for private pay patients and one for insurance patients.
Many people are not particularly malicious when they use two fee schedules. The technical nature of the violation lends itself to rather light penalties, at least for a first offense. However, it is important to have an attorney in these cases. Your lawyer is a strong voice and also evidence that you take the charge seriously.
Most people know that the bait-and-switch is unethical and unprofessional. There is nothing wrong with offering free services to entice people to come to your clinic, as long as the services are truly available and truly free.
The “free exam” is in a grey area. The practitioner may mean a free question-and-answer session with the doctor. But the patient probably expects a free physical examination. If the patient walks away disappointed, the patient’s next call may be to the licensing authority. Even if the complaint does not go forward, that is a hassle that you do not need.
Good documentation must be easy to read. Do not use handwritten records or fancy fonts. Furthermore, it should contain more than just the basic elements. An investigator should be able to formulate a good idea of what happened based solely on the patient records. Finally, the documents should not just be your assertions. There should be some evidence backing up the entries.
Your medical degree is valid in all states, but there is a difference between the conduct that Illinois allows and the conduct that Indiana allows. This consideration is especially a concern in places like Chicagoland that spread out over more than one state. So, what is legal in one office may be illegal in another office down the highway.
Work With Experienced Attorneys
Due to Tom Glasgow’s highly specialized experience in these areas, he has successfully defended many health care professionals and private individuals against the unlimited resources of the Federal and State government. For a confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Schaumburg, contact Glasgow & Olsson.
(image courtesy of Toa Heftiba)