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Linchpin in Healthcare Fraud Scheme to Repay More

‘Operation Backbreaker’ culminates in felony conviction for chiropractor

Bruce Holaday Booking Photo

The sentencing today of Fairfield (Hamilton County) chiropractor Bruce E. Holaday in a Franklin County courtroom is the culmination of a sweeping health care fraud investigation conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) and Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office.  Holaday, owner of the Back and Spine Center, pleaded guilty in July to felony workers’ compensation fraud and was ordered to repay BWC more than $200,000.  The investigation, dubbed ‘Operation Backbreaker,’ has already resulted in the conviction of four of Holaday’s associates for their role in the scheme to defraud the state’s workers’ compensation system.

“Operation Backbreaker was an elaborate scam and an unfortunate reminder that some providers are concerned more with how much they can bill BWC than with ensuring injured workers receive appropriate care,” said Administrator/CEO Stephen Buehrer.  “Employers expect BWC to ensure care for their workers by ethical providers that are authorized to treat them so their premium dollars are not lost to fraud by deceptive providers.”

The investigation began after BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) received an allegation that Holaday was unlawfully using the names and provider identification numbers of the chiropractors with whom he practiced to conceal from BWC his direct involvement in rendering or managing treatment for injured workers.  Holaday had been decertified as a BWC health care provider and was prohibited from seeking and receiving reimbursement from BWC.

BWC special agents posed as injured workers and sought treatment at two clinics.  Investigators found that in addition to concealing his direct involvement in treating injured workers to circumvent his exclusion, Holaday also billed and received payment from BWC for treatment never provided to injured workers.  In carrying out the scheme, Holaday created bogus treatment records to substantiate the fraudulent bills submitted to BWC.

In addition to repaying $106,566.13 in restitution, which he paid in full today, Holaday is jointly liable with co-defendant Dr. Gary Berner for repaying an additional $104,350.53.  The judge also sentenced Holaday to 30 days in jail, placed him on five years of community control, and ordered him to pay $12,500 in investigation costs and an unknown amount for court costs.

SID’s investigation already resulted in the conviction of four associates at Holaday’s chiropractic clinic. Dr. Gary T. Berner pleaded guilty to felony workers’ compensation fraud for his active involvement in the scheme.  He was sentenced to 5 years community control and ordered to pay over $110,000 in restitution and investigative and court costs.  As part of his community control, Dr. Berner was also handed a conditional sentence of 180 days in Franklin County jail.

Additionally, Dr. Dennis M. Mulcahy; Charles E. Hoskins, Jr.; and Debra A. Ramge have all pleaded guilty to felony workers’ compensation fraud.

To report fraud online, please visit: http://bit.ly/reportfraud.
To speak with a fraud hotline agent, please call: 1-800-OHIOBWC.

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