Chiropractor Suspended for Ads—Again
KANSAS: Wichita chiropractor Todd Eck will lose his license for 30 days, beginning July 1 and pay a $10,000 fine because he failed to specify in two advertisements that he was a chiropractor.
Ryan Hodge, Eck’s attorney said Eck’s patients would be cared for by others during the suspension.
The discipline was ordered by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, which reduced the staff-recommended 90-day license suspension after hearing from Eck at the board’s June 21 meeting, board president Betty McBride said. State law requires those governed by the board to specify in advertising which branch of medicine they’re licensed in.
Eck inadvertently left the designation off the ads, Hodge said, and didn’t catch the omission on draft forms of them. Those answering the phone said, “Eck Chiropractic,” Hodge said, “so there was never an issue of anybody being deceived by the ads.”
McBride said the suspension and fine were ordered because it’s not the first time Eck has faced the board over advertising practices. “That’s why the board felt it was very important that action be taken, to protect the public.”
In April 2004, Eck paid a $2,500 fine for failing to identify what kind of doctor he was in an advertisement in The Newton Kansan.
The new case involves two December 2005 ads, one in The Newton Kansan and one a direct-mail ad. The disciplinary petition was filed in October 2007. Each ad identified “Dr. Todd Eck, a local doctor” and “Eck Clinic” but failed to say what kind of doctor he was.
“When there’s a repeat offense, that triggers some additional sanctions,” said Larry Buening, whose last day as executive director of the board was June 30.
The Wichita Eagle
Chiropractor Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Tax Evasion
MAINE: A chiropractor who used to practice in Damariscotta pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud and three counts of tax evasion in U.S. District Court on Friday, June 27. Steven P. Amato, 52, faces a maximum jail term of ten years for the fraud count and a maximum of five years for each of the tax counts. Each count also carries a maximum fine of $250,000.
Amato, currently of Yorkville, Calif., practiced in Damariscotta from 2000 to 2004.
Amato was accused of submitting fraudulent claims to insurance companies for services he did not provide to patients. The losses to health insurance companies were estimated to be more than $100,000.
He was also accused of filing false federal income tax returns from 2001 to 2003. It’s estimated that he underreported his income by nearly $650,000 and evaded taxes of $249,637.
Appeals Court Upholds Conviction of Nebraska Chiropractor
NEBRASKA: A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of a Lincoln chiropractor and his wife for tax evasion. Mark Gustafson and his wife, Salwa Gustafson, were each sentenced last September to 30 months in prison.
In its ruling, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Gustafsons’ arguments that a lower court erred in excluding some exhibits and in its instructions to the jury.
Federal authorities had said the couple failed to file tax returns from 1998 to 2000. Prosecutors said they also used sham business trusts and offshore accounts to conceal their income.
Mark Gustafson is currently serving his sentence in a South Dakota federal prison. His wife is set to begin her term after her husband’s release to allow for one parent to be with their child.
U.S. Sen. Harkin: Announces Nearly $150,000 for the Palmer College of Chiropractic
WASHINGTON, D.C: Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) recently announced that the Palmer College of Chiropractic received a $148,435 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for medical research. The university will use these funds to establish a research program at the Developmental Center for Clinical and Translational Science in Chiropractic. “The Palmer College of Chiropractic continues to impress the medical community with its advanced findings and this funding will help support their work,” Harkin said. “The results of such research will add to our scientific understanding and will improve the quality of life for people in Iowa and across the country.”
Harkin has been a long-time supporter of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the federal agency responsible for medical research. As Chairman and formerly ranking member of the subcommittee that funds health and education, Harkin led the effort to double NIH funding over five years. President Bush has proposed freezing funding for the NIH at $29.3 billion.