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Ron Halstead and Two Other Chiropractors
Convicted in Health Fraud Scheme

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Ronald L. Halstead, D.C. has taught chiropractors how to boost their incomes for more than 20 years. In 1981, when he was still seeing patients, an advertisement for his audiotaped practice-management course stated that in 1980 he had seen 725 to 769 patients per week and had grossed $786,000 but, due to investments and "proper income tax planning," had paid no income tax for 7 consecutive years [1]. Not long afterward, he was convicted of Medicaid fraud in Illinois. In 1982, he moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, where he set up Practice Systems, a practice-management firm that taught chiropractors throughout the United States how operate high-volume MD/DC practices for rehabilitating injured patients. During the 1990s, ads for his seminars boasted that many of his clients had increased their income by $50,000 per month and that a few were producing over $300,000 per month.

On February 4, 2003, a federal jury in Clarksburg, West Virginia, jury found Halstead and two West Virginia chiropractors guilty of charges relating to a conspiracy to commit mail fraud and health care fraud. Halstead was found guilty on one count of conspiracy, 14 counts of health care fraud, and 11 counts of money laundering; and William C. Filcheck Jr. D.C., and Scott G. Taylor , D.C. were both found guilty of one count of conspiracy and 14 counts of health care fraud. A fourth defendant, Robert B. Burns, Jr., D.C., who owned the clinics in which the fraud took place, has been arrested in Ireland and is fighting to prevent extradition to face the charges [2,3]

The scheme involved the submission of false claims to Medicare and private insurance companies for more than $2.8 million in order to evade payment limitations. According to the indictment:

In June 2004, Halstead was fined $5,000 and sentenced to 121 months in prison and Filcheck and Taylor were each sentenced to 37 months and ordered to forfeit $1.9 million. Burns's extradition is still pending.

References

  1. This DC made nearly $800,000 in 1980. Advertisement for the Halstead Practice Management Course, Digest of Chiropractic Economics, Sept/Oct 1981.
  2. Harvey M. Chiropractors, consultant convicted of health care fraud in fed. Clarksburg Exponent Telegram, Feb 5, 2003. To access this article, go to http://www.cpubco.com and paste in the URL http://www.cpubco.com/cgi-bin/LiveIQue.acgi$rec=13288cbgCurrentLocalNews?cbgCurrentLocalNews
  3. Barrett S. Patient retention scripts. Chirobase, Feb 16, 2003.
  4. Indictment. United States of America v Robert B. Burns, Jr at al. In the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. Criminal No. 1:01 CR 45, Filed Sept 7, 2001.
  5. Crime Awareness Newsletter. Defense Criminal Investigative Service, March 2002.

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This article was revised on June 14, 2004