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Press Release

Chiropractor pays to settle allegations arising from electro-acupuncture device billing

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The chief financial officer of Rockport Physical Medicine PA has agreed to pay $273,000 to resolve allegations she falsely billed Medicare for the use of acupuncture devices, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Stacy Hawkins, 54, is a licensed chiropractor in Rockport.

From Sep. 1, 2016, to Dec. 27, 2018, the company billed Medicare for the implantation of neurostimulator electrodes. Medicare pays thousands of dollars for this surgical procedure that requires the use of an operating room.  

However, Hawkins and the clinic’s staff did not perform surgery. Instead, patients received devices used for electro-acupuncture. This involves inserting needles into patients’ ears with the neurostimulator taped behind them with an adhesive. 

Medicare does not reimburse for electro-acupuncture devices as implantable neurostimulators.

To date, there have been two other settlements in this district - with a Katy anesthesiologist and a Houston pain doctor - involving similar allegations of false billing.

The Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Gray handled the matter.

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.

Updated April 7, 2021

Health Care Fraud