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Article by Jane Friedmann
A chiropractor failed to tell the board about his child pornography conviction. Another, who engaged in deceptive billing, failed to pass an ethics exam or pay a $30,000 fine. Another billed for dozens of procedures while he was on vacation.
The following 10 chiropractors were disciplined by the Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners in the 12 months ending in May.
All information below came from board orders and current licensing information.
Scott M. Arneson, Savage, conditional license
Arneson, owner of Flying Cloud Spine Sport, P.A., was evicted from his rented space in 2010 and failed to make arrangements to refund his former patients for unused prepaid services. To get his full license reinstated, he must attempt to contact former patients by certified mail to tell them how to obtain health and billing records and to "refund all outstanding balances to any patient who can demonstrate prepayment for services they did not receive." His business license expired in 2010.
Daniel W. Belde, Big Lake, stayed suspension, $2,000 fine
Belde hugged a female patient repeatedly, told a patient he found her attractive and, while unhooking a patient's bra, commented that he had "not been able to do that since high school." Employees said he flirted with workers and patients.
At least two former employees saw him drink alcohol at lunch. In September he pleaded guilty to DWI.
Belde charged almost twice the cash rate for certain procedures covered by insurance. He billed patients for 72 procedures, all while he was on vacation and altered records to give the appearance he had provided the treatments.
Belde is on probation until at least February 2015. He must take classes in record keeping, ethics and boundaries and must submit to a chemical-dependency evaluation.
Adam J. Burke, Edina, suspension, $15,000 fine
Burke submitted health care credit card applications electronically on behalf of patients but inflated income figures and falsified home-ownership status in order to help them qualify. He kept incomplete records and failed to obtain patient signatures. His full license was reinstated in March.
Burke R. Mays, St. Louis Park, and Bryan W. Edwards, Bloomington, tax suspensions
The board complied with a Minnesota Department of Revenue order to suspend Mays and Edwards for owing the state $500 or more in delinquent taxes or for failing to file returns.
James P. Mellin II, Edina, stipulation to cease practice
Mellin agreed to temporarily cease practice in October, a non-disciplinary action, while the board investigated a complaint.
The board issued Mellin a stayed suspension and placed him on probation in February for at least five years.
Mellin, who has a history of board discipline for alcohol and drug use, must "fully participate and comply" with a monitoring agreement with a state treatment program for health professionals. The February order said that Mellin failed a drug test in September.
Terrence J. Murphy, St. Cloud, suspension, $10,000 fine
In 1998, Murphy spent extended sessions behind closed doors with a 17-year-old female client, invited the client to his home and drove her to Wisconsin for a paintball game. He told a female staff member about sexually explicit activities he had participated in on a road trip.
Murphy pleaded guilty in 2004 to possession of child pornography and was required to register as a predatory offender.
He made false statements on his chiropractic license applications for 2005 through 2010 that concealed the conviction. The board discovered it in February 2010 and suspended him for at least five years in September 2011.
Murphy was ordered to pass a sexual issues remediation course, an ethics class and a separate ethics exam. If reinstated, Murphy will have limitations placed on his license.
David J. Schornstein, Cambridge, revocation
Schornstein admitted that his "use of controlled medications to manage pain had caused 'the lapse of good judgment and decision making.'" The board allowed him to run his business but not provide direct care.
He was fully suspended in March and his license was revoked in April for violating the stayed suspension order by providing direct care on 13 occasions, billing an insurance company using a false name and billing for services he hadn't provided, including about 57 massage sessions.
While Schornstein agreed to the license revocation, he denied providing the care or billing the insurance company using a false name, the order said.
His business license expired in December.
Gary L. Smith, Jr., Hopkins, stayed suspension, $40,000 fine.
Smith failed to sufficiently document the reasons for "neurodiagnostic testing" on six patients. The board said that there were "insufficient clinical indicators" for that type of testing of six patients. Smith also failed to properly document the basis for spine-related diagnoses in at least three patients. Smith is on probation until February 2014 and must pass an ethics course and a separate ethics exam.
Jeffrey M. Styba, Ramsey, suspension, $30,000 fine
Styba obtained health care credit cards for patients, often by providing false income or home ownership information. He admitted he and his staff would just "plug in a number." Styba billed for services that were not provided.
He was told to take an ethics exam, billing classes and come up with a written plan to correct problems.
Styba was suspended in October after failing three of five areas of an ethics exam, failing to take classes on record keeping and coding and failing to follow a payment plan for the $30,000 fine.
The October order, to which Styba did not consent, bans him from owning or operating a chiropractic firm, among other conditions. He dissolved his business in 2011.
Hard Data digs into public records and puts a spotlight on rule breakers in Minnesota. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.