Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and other affiliated companies (Progressive) have filed suit in federal court against Alivio Chiropractic Clinic, Inc., located in Robbinsdale, 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.”
The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, in business since 1937, ranks third in the nation for auto insurance based on premiums written and provides drivers with competitive rates and 24/7, in-person and online service. The products and services of the Progressive Direct Group of Insurance Companies are marketed directly to consumers by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE and online at progressivedirect.com through the Progressive Direct brand. The Drive Group of Progressive Insurance Companies offers insurance through more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies that market their products and services through the Drive Insurance from Progressive brand. For more information, go to driveinsurance.com. The Common Shares of the Progressive Corporation, the Mayfield Village, Ohio-based holding company, are publicly traded at NYSE:PGR. More information can be found at progressive.com.