A Massachusetts court recently ordered a Boston chiropractor and the clinics he owns to pay millions of dollars in damages to five insurers. The companies, Encompass Insurance, Norfolk & Dedham Mutual Fire Insurance, OneBeacon Insurance, Premier Insurance and Commerce Insurance, had sued Dr. Jason Corbett, the chiropractor, who operates a number of clinics in the Boston area. Dr. Corbett initially sued several insurers, claiming that the insurers unreasonably denied personal injury protection (PIP) benefits claims made by his clinics on behalf of patients. He charged that money was owed to him for chiropractic services reportedly given to numerous patients involved in automobile accidents.
But after an investigation, the insurers counter-sued in 2005. In their lawsuit, the insurers alleged that Dr. Corbett committed fraud, civil conspiracy, unfair business practices, and violations of the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The insurers said they had paid out substantial sums because of Dr. Corbett’s fraudulent activities. Certain individual employees at Corbett clinics have also been added as Defendants in insurers’ counter lawsuit filed by the insurers.
A Suffolk Superior Court judge agreed with the insurers, stating that Dr. Corbett was responsible for “misrepresentations” and that the fraud stemmed “from chiropractic patients treated at the Corbett clinics who were referred to the clinics by runners or who received unnecessary treatment.” Dr. Corbett and his clinics were ordered by the judge to pay $859,000 to Encompass and $1.1 million to Norfolk & Dedham. Similar amounts were awarded to OneBeacon, Premier, and Commerce. The judge said in his order:
The Defendants engaged in a pattern and practice of medical billing insurance fraud to obtain money from the insurers…by submitting chiropractic invoices containing excessive charges seeking payment for excessive and/or non-existent chiropractic treatment.
This was a very strong case involving fraudulent conduct and the testimony in the case showed how very bad Dr. Corbett’s conduct was. For example, a chiropractor who was temporarily employed at the clinics testified by deposition that:
patients were to receive a certain regimen of physiotherapy modalities every single time until their bill reached between $3,500 and $4,000 total…Corbett directed him to treat people who have no need for treatment and that Corbett directed him to keep chiropractic manipulation to five minutes or less (for each patient) so that he could maintain a certain volume of patients.
Another deposition described how an individual trying to find potential clients for therapy offices approached a motorist and paid him $1,500 to be involved in a staged automobile accident. That person then would take folks involved in the staged accident to different therapy places including Dr. Corbett’s clinics. Concerning the conduct, the court stated:
Defendants committed fraudulent non-disclosure by submitting claims to the insurers for patients who had been solicited by runners and who had not been involved in genuine accidents.
The conduct revealed in this case during the trial can’t be tolerated. The case is Commerce Ins. Co. et. Al, v. Jason Corbett et. Al., Suffolk Superior Court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Source: Insurance Journal