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Press Release

Chiropractor And Related Practice To Pay $175,000 As A Part Of False Claims Act Liability Settlement Agreement

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

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – U.S. Attorney John Huber announced today that Chiropractor Matthew Wood and his practice, Life Health Medical Center (“LHMC”), have agreed to pay $175,000 to resolve liability under the False Claims Act for allegations he improperly billed Medicare for the use of electro-acupuncture devices.

From November 3, 2018 through February 28, 2020, Dr. Wood and LHMC billed Medicare for an implantable neurostimulator device, a device that typically requires a surgical procedure and is performed by a surgeon in an operating room.

STIVAX® is a percutaneous auricular electro-acupuncture device. Pursuant to the manufacturer’s instructions, the device is affixed behind a patient’s ear using an adhesive.  Needles are inserted into the patient’s ear and affixed using another adhesive. Once activated, the device then provides intermittent stimulation by electrical pulses. It is a single-use, battery-powered device designed to be worn for approximately four days until its battery runs out, at which time the device is thrown away.  Other brand names for this device include NeuroStim, ANSiStim, E-Pulse, and NSS-2 Bridge.

Medicare does not reimburse for electro-acupuncture devices as implantable neurostimulators nor acupuncture.

LHMC also agreed to enter into an Integrity Agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that will require regular monitoring of its billing practices for a period of three years.

"Health care professionals who inappropriately bill Medicare do so at a disservice to this vital program,” said Special Agent in Charge Curt L. Muller, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.  "Working with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to protect taxpayer-funded health care programs as well as the patients who rely on them."

This settlement agreement is one of many of its kind involving electro-acupuncture billing that U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the United States have worked diligently to resolve.

The settled civil claims are allegations only. There has been no determination of civil liability. This case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra L. Steinvoort, Chief of the Affirmative Civil Enforcement section in the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office, handled the matter. 

Updated December 8, 2020

False Claims Act