Disciplinary Action against
Spencer G. Williams, D.C.
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
In 2013, the Idaho Board of Chiropractic Physicians and Spencer Williams, D.C., signed a stipulation and consent order (shown below) which stated:
The Board received information that Respondent may have engaged in unfair and abusive billing practices by using high pressure tactics to have patients sign extended Patient Case Fee Agreements requiring as many as 135 office visits. Said contracts further require patients to pay penalties if they do not attend special additional training. The extent of the contracts is not fully explained to the patient and an undisclosed monthly billing fee is also assessed. In some cases, patients have been required to make patient referrals to cover all or part of their fees. Respondent has also engaged in code splitting and significant overutilization of services.
Although Williams denied the allegations, he agreed to (a) stop the challenged practices, (b) take a continuing education course in ethics, and (c) pay $6,000 for investigative costs and attorneys fees.
BEFORE THE BOARD OF CHIROPRACTIC PHYSICIANS
STATE OF IDAHO
In the Matter of the License of:
SPENCER G. WILLIAMS, D.C.
Case No. CHI-2006-4
WHEREAS, information has been received by the Idaho State Board of Chiropractic Physicians (the "Board") that constitutes sufficient grounds for the initiation of an administrative action against Spencer G. Williams, ("Respondent"); and
WHEREAS, the parties mutually agree to settle the matter in an expeditious manner in lieu of administrative hearings before the Board; now, therefore,
IT IS HEREBY STIPULATED AND AGREED between the undersigned parties that this matter shall be settled and resolved upon the following terms:
A. Stipulated Facts and Law
A.l. The Board regulates chiropractic practice in the State of Idaho in accordance with title 54, chapter 7, Idaho Code.
A.2. The Board has issued License No. CHIA-377 to Respondent. Respondent's license is subject to the provisions of title 54, chapter 7, Idaho Code and the Board's rules at IDAPA 24.03.01, et seq.
A.3. The Board received information that Respondent may have engaged in unfair and abusive billing practices by using high pressure tactics to have patients sign extended Patient Case Fee Agreements requiring as many as 135 office visits. Said contracts further require patients to pay penalties if they do not attend special additional training. The extent of the contracts is not fully explained to the patient and an undisclosed monthly billing fee is also assessed. In some cases, patients have been required to make patient referrals to cover all or part of their fees. Respondent has also engaged in code splitting and significant overutilization of services. Respondent denies all of the allegations.
A.4. The allegations of Paragraph A.3., if proven, would violate the laws and rules governing chiropractic practice, specifically Idaho Code §§ 54-712(4) ; 54-712(10); 54-712(11); 54-712(13), and IDAPA 24.03.01A50. Violations of these laws and rules constitute grounds for disciplinary action against Respondent's license to practice chiropractic in the State of Idaho.
B. Waiver of Procedural Rights
I, Spencer G. Williams, by affixing my signature hereto, acknowledge that:
B.1. have read, understand and admit the allegations pending before the Board, as stated in Section A, Paragraphs A.3 through AA. I further understand that these allegations constitute cause for disciplinary action upon my license to practice chiropractic in the State of Idaho.
B.2. understand that I have the right to a full and complete hearing; the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses; the right to present evidence or to call witnesses, or to testify myself; the right to reconsideration of the Board's orders; the right to judicial review of the Board's orders; and all rights accorded by the Administrative Procedure Act of the State of Idaho and the laws and rules governing the practice of chiropractic in the State of Idaho. I hereby freely and voluntarily waive these rights in order to enter into this Stipulation as a resolution of the pending allegations.
B.3. I understand that in signing this Stipulation I am enabling the Board to impose disciplinary action upon my license without further process.
C. Stipulated Discipline
C .1. Respondent shall immediately cease and desist from using Extended Patient Care Fee Agreements and prepayment plans which are excessive and unnecessary. Respondent shall not use unfair and abusive billing practices, including undisclosed monthly billing fees. Respondent shall only provide services to patients which are chiropractically necessary and indicated for each patient's individual condition. Respondent shall not charge for or provide unnecessary services and shall not engage in code splitting.
C.2. Within six (6) months of the date of entry of the Board's Order, Respondent shall take a minimum 6-hour ethics course approved by the Board. Respondent must receive prior approval by the Board as to both the institution and coursework for which he is seeking credit. Respondent shall submit proof of attendance to the Board within 30 days of attendance of said continuing education. This continuing education shall be in addition to any continuing education Respondent is required to obtain to maintain his license.
C.3. Respondent shall pay investigative costs and attorney fees in the amount of $6,000.00 within thirty (30) days of the entry of the Board's Order.
C.4. The Bureau of Occupational Licenses shall monitor Respondent's compliance with the terms and conditions of this Stipulation and Consent Order and Respondent shall cooperate in providing the Bureau with any requested records necessary to monitor compliance. All costs associated with compliance with the terms of this Stipulation are the sole responsibility of Respondent.
C.5. The violation of any of the terms of this Stipulation by Respondent may warrant further Board action. The Board therefore retains jurisdiction over this proceeding until all matters are finally resolved as set forth in this Stipulation.
D. Presentation of Stipulation to Board
D.1. The Board's prosecutor shall present this Stipulation to the Board with a recommendation for approval.
D.2. The Board may accept, modify with Respondent's approval, or reject this Stipulation. If the Board rejects the Stipulation, an administrative Complaint may be filed with the Board. Respondent waives any right Respondent may have to challenge the Board's impartiality to hear the allegations in the administrative Complaint based on the fact that the Board has considered and rejected this Stipulation. Respondent does not waive any other rights regarding challenges to Board members.
D.3. If the Board rejects this Stipulation then, except for Respondent's waiver set forth in Paragraph D.2., this Stipulation shall be regarded as null and void, and admissions in this Stipulation and negotiations preceding the signing of this Stipulation will not be admissible at any subsequent disciplinary hearing.
D.4. Except for Paragraph D.2. which becomes effective when Respondent signs this Stipulation, this Stipulation shall not become effective until it has been approved by a majority of the Board and a Board member signs the attached Order.
E. Violation of Stipulation and Consent Order
E.1. If Respondent violates this Stipulation and Consent Order, the violation shall be considered grounds for additional discipline and the Board may impose additional discipline pursuant to the following procedure:
a. The Chief of the Bureau of Occupational Licenses shall schedule a hearing before the Board to assess whether Respondent has violated this Stipulation and Consent Order. The Chief shall also serve notice of the hearing and charges to Respondent and to Respondent's attorney, if any. Within fourteen (14) days after the notice of the hearing and charges is served, Respondent may submit a response to the allegations. If Respondent does not submit a timely response to the Board, the alleged violations will be deemed admitted.
b. At the hearing, the Board and Respondent may submit evidence and present oral argument based upon the record in support of their positions. Unless otherwise ordered by the Board, the evidentiary record before the Board shall be limited to evidence relevant to whether Respondent has violated this Stipulation and Consent Order. At the hearing the facts and substantive matters related to the violations described in Section A shall not be at issue.
c. At the hearing, the Board may impose additional discipline, which may include the suspension or revocation of Respondent's license, the imposition of fines, the recovery of costs and attorney fees incurred by the Board and/or other conditions or limitations upon Respondent's practice.
E.2. This Stipulation and Consent Order is the resolution of a contested case and is a public record.
E.3. This Stipulation contains the entire agreement between the parties, and Respondent is not relying on any other agreement or representation of any kind, verbal or otherwise.
I have read the above Stipulation fully and have had the opportunity to discuss it with legal counsel. I understand that by its terms I am waiving certain rights accorded me under Idaho law. I understand that the Board may either approve this Stipulation as proposed, approve it subject to specified changes, or reject it. I understand that, if approved as proposed, the Board will issue an Order on tills Stipulation according to the aforementioned terms, and I hereby agree to the above Stipulation for settlement. I understand that if the Board approves this Stipulation subject to changes, and the changes are acceptable to me, the Stipulation will take effect and an order modifying the terms of the Stipulation will be issued. If the changes are unacceptable to me or the Board rejects this Stipulation, it will be of no effect.
DATED this 26 day of February, 2013.
Spencer G. Williams
I recommend that the Board enter an Order based upon this Stipulation.
DATED this 15th day of February 2013.
Jean R. Uranga
Attorney for the Board
Pursuant to Idaho Code § 54-712, the foregoing is adopted as the decision of the Board of Chiropractic Physicians in this matter and shall be effective on the 10TH day of February, 2013. IT IS SO ORDERED.
IDAHO STATE BOARD
OF CHIROPRACTIC EXAMINERS
JAMES E. HOLLINGSWORTH, D.C., CHAIR
This article was posted on May 30, 2013.