Greenville chiropractor admits to illegal kickbacks and fraud.

Greenville chiropractor Daniel McCollum pled guilty earlier this month to engaging in conspiracy to pay illegal kickbacks and defrauding health care programs by billing for unnecessary medical services. The plea was entered in U.S. District Court, according to a news release.

The maximum criminal penalty McCollum could face is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 following the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina's $9 million civil consent judgement against the chiropractor.

McCollum owned and operated pain management clinics, laboratories and a pharmacy throughout Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Easley, North Carolina and Tennessee.

These operations included Oaktree Medical Center, First Choice Healthcare, Labsource, Pain Management Associates of the Carolinas, Pain Management Associates of North Carolina and ProLab, ProCare Counseling Center, according to court documents.

Under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, a private party can file an action on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the recovery.

In 2019, five former employees of McCollum's clinics, Donna Raunch, Muriel Calhoun, Brandy Knight, Karen Mathewson and Tracy Hawkins, filed an action on behalf of the United States alleging that McCollum's clinics and laboratories provided illegal financial incentives to doctors and mid-level providers to induce the referrals of urinary drug tests.

The claim also accused him of billing federal health care programs for unnecessary urinary drug testing and billed or caused to be billed false claims for steroid injections, opioid prescriptions and lidocaine ointment prescriptions that were medically unnecessary or lacked a legitimate medical purpose often without the knowledge or approval of the patients' health care providers.

"Improper financial relationships between health care providers and laboratories can lead to overutilization and increase the cost of health care services paid for by the taxpayers," Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton from the Justice Department's civil division, said in the news release. "The provision of medical services and prescriptions should be based on a patient's medical needs rather than the financial interests of providers."

For two years, the clinics and labs under McCollum's management or ownership, however, failed to defend against allegations, resulting in a $136 million judgement on Sept. 2, the release said.

Eventually, on Oct...

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