June 27, 2016

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Medina chiropractor gets prison for fraud

AKRON — A Medina chiropractor was sentenced to 2½ years in federal prison after being convicted of defrauding insurance companies and Medicare of more than $1.8 million.

Dr. John N. Heary, 38, of Westfield Township, pleaded guilty to seven counts of health-care fraud in October as part of a plea bargain. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped 31 more counts of healthcare fraud, nine counts of mail fraud and eight counts of paying illegal kickbacks.

His case was heard in U.S. District Court in Akron.

Heary was accused of supplying patients with medical treatments unnecessary to their health or which were more expensive than required. In some cases, he billed patients for treatments they never received.

“This doctor took advantage of programs designed to provide care and support for the old and the sick,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “Our office and the Justice Department are committed to rooting out health-care fraud in all its forms.”

Heary provided custom-molded ankle-foot orthotics, or “boots,” to patients who did not need them and wrote false diagnoses to justify the billing, prosecutors said. He billed Medicare and insurance anywhere from $2,770 to $4,300 for each pair of boots, according to court documents.

He also routinely provided the most expensive back braces without any demonstration of medical necessity or any pursuit of a less costly alternative, billing Medicare and insurance companies from $995 to $1,250 for each brace, according to court documents.

If patients questioned the necessity of this medical equipment, Heary said they were part of a “free package deal” and would be covered by their insurance, according to court documents.

Hearly also billed for supervised physical therapy when the patients were not supervised. He also billed for an hour’s worth of physical therapy when, at most, patients did a half-hour, according to court documents.

Prosecutors said he submitted the bills to Medicare, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Medical Mutual of Ohio and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, which reimbursed Heary more than $812,000.

He was ordered in October to repay the money, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Mike Tobin said.

Heary did business under his name and two corporations. HealthSource of Medina was the operating name of Heary’s chiropractic practice until October 2009. Medina Health and Wellness Center Inc. was the corporate name under which Heary sold durable medical equipment, according to court documents.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.