New Regulations a Pain in the Neck for Chiropractic 'Runners'

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014 12:00 am  

Chiropractor Heath Lenox used runner Roger Pleasant and his companies to persuade auto accident victims to come to Lenox’s clinic in Little Rock. Lenox stopped using Pleasant and his companies on June 25. | (Photo by Mark Friedman)

Like Lenox, Varley is represented by attorney David Lewis. Under cross examination, Lewis asked Wharton if the woman could have worked for a competitor who wanted to cause trouble for Varley.

Wharton conceded that scenario could be true, but he considered it unlikely. “I’ve never seen anyone go to those kinds of steps to enrich an enemy,” Wharton said.

But Lewis said he’s seen it happen. “There are some of these complaints that can be … traced to other chiropractors,” Lewis said at the hearing. “And those people have an interest in filing grievances against Dr. Varley because they are trying to limit their competition. There is a lot of that going on, and it’s really a nasty situation.”

Varley testified that he didn’t have a woman working for him as a runner in December 2012. But he acknowledged using runners and said they try to call as many accident victims as they can in a day.

He also said he paid the procurers $600 for each referred patient who makes at least five visits to his office.

After the hearing, the chiropractic board found Varley not guilty of unprofessional conduct on a 3-2 vote.

Wharton told Arkansas Business last week that he was disappointed with the verdict but not surprised. “We knew we were going to have a proof problem,” he said.

Varley, through his office, referred questions to another attorney, Steve Underwood of Cabot. Underwood said Varley makes sure the procurers he uses follow the rules when contacting an accident victim. And he said the procurers now are starting to record the sales calls, so there’s a record to review if there is a dispute.

Underwood also said Varley has used runners for years to help build his business. A medical doctor will refer his patients to a physical therapist, but not to a chiropractor, Underwood said. “So that means they’ve got to be aggressive in getting a patient base built up,” he said.



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