Chiropractor's criminal record foils certification in partnership program
Wloszek v. Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, No. 12AP-529 (Ohio Ct. App. 03/05/13).
The Ohio Court of Appeals held that the denial of a chiropractor's application for certification to participate in the health partnership was proper.
What it means: In Ohio, the Bureau of Workers' Compensation can consider the sealed criminal records pertaining to an applicant for the health partnership program.
A licensed chiropractor pleaded guilty in a federal criminal case to two felony charges related to an "anti-kickback" statute that prohibits an individual from knowingly and willfully soliciting or receiving payments in return for referring an individual to a person for services that may be paid under a federal health care program. She admitted to receiving "rent" payments from a mobile medical laboratory business for use in her office. The payments were actually remuneration for referring patients to the laboratory for diagnostic testing. Her criminal records were later sealed. She sought certification as a provider in the health partnership program, a comprehensive managed care program administered by the bureau to provide medical services to workers for their compensable work-related injuries or occupational diseases. In denying her application, the bureau considered her sealed criminal records. The Ohio Court of Appeals held that the denial of the chiropractor's application was proper.
The court explained that providers are not eligible to participate in the program if they have been convicted of fraud or improper acts related to their professional judgment. The court found that the events leading to the chiropractor's conviction were directly related to the conduct of her medical practice and her exercise of professional judgment. It was not unreasonable for the bureau to prevent a physician convicted of those charges from participating in the program.
The chiropractor also argued that the bureau could not consider the plea agreement and judgment from her sealed criminal case. The court disagreed, finding that her application was a privilege for which she applied, which allowed her sealed conviction to be considered.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
June 17, 2013
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