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A Better Partnership
December 05, 2013

Chiropractor not subject to professional discipline for rendering opinion in Indepedent Chriopractor Examination without first reviewing records from treating chiropractor

An insurance company hired a chiropractor to perform an “Independent Chiropractor Examination” (“ICE”) on a patient who had been in an auto accident and was receiving chiropractic treatment from HealthQuest. The ICE chiropractor performed a physical exam of the patient, but did not review the patient’s HealthQuest records. As a result of the ICE, the chiropractor generated a report for the insurance company concluding that the patient was not disabled due to the accident. After the insurer cut off payment for HealthQuest’s treatment, a principal of that firm filed a professional complaint against the ICE chiropractor. Ultimately, the Disciplinary Subcommittee of the Department of the Michigan Board of Chiropractic placed the ICE Chiropractor on probation for one year finding, (1) it was negligent for the ICE chiropractor to issue a written report without first reviewing the HealthQuest records, and (2) it was likely that the ICE chiropractor had made a comment about HealthQuest’s “track record” of providing unnecessary treatment, and that such a statement violated the statutory requirement of good moral character. In Bureau of Health Professions v. Serven, the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned this professional discipline. The Court noted that its review of this administrative agency’s final determination was limited to whether the action was authorized by law and supported by competent, materials and substantial evidence on the whole record. Despite this deferential standard, the Court determined that the chiropractor was not negligent in his conduct of the ICE because he did not owe any legal duty to patient, other than to avoid causing physical harm during the exam. Similarly, the Court found that even if the chiropractor had made a comment about HealthQuest’s track record, such a single, isolated comment was not sufficient evidence of a lack of good moral character.

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