Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and other affiliated companies (Progressive) have filed suit in federal court against Alivio Chiropractic Clinic Inc., located in Robbinsdale, Minnesota and individuals associated with it, including a chiropractor and an attorney.
The suit alleges that Alivio Chiropractic Clinic, chiropractor Joshua Anderson, St. Paul attorney Mark Karney, massage therapist Andrea Bongart, and office manager Alexis Aguilar conspired to commit fraud by, among other things, charging for medical services never performed and by administering and billing for unnecessary and excessive treatments.
In the suit, which alleges violations of federal racketeering laws, the defendants reportedly target Hispanic individuals who are in the United States illegally, thereby ensuring that the fraud and abuse will go unreported for fear of deportation. The suit alleges that the defendants use “runners” to solicit patients and when the individuals are brought to the clinic, the defendants bill for services not rendered or bill for treatments prescribed according to a standardized plan that is not based on the needs of the patients but is designed to maximize billings. The suit also alleges that the defendants assembled and submitted false documents in support of their billings to Progressive.
The lawsuit is the most recent in a series of medical fraud cases in Minnesota. In both 2002 and 2004, groups of national auto insurers filed suits against chiropractors and other medical clinics alleging medical billing fraud in the millions.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates that fraudulent insurance claims cost consumers $200 to $300 a year in increased insurance premiums.
“Getting people who commit such crimes to pay for their actions goes a long way toward helping insurance companies keep the cost of auto insurance down,” said Mike Capuzzi, Minnesota state claims manager, Progressive. “Insurance fraud is far from a victimless crime–we are all victims and the more aggressively we fight it, the better off we will all be.”
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