Michael Taggart, D.C.,
Placed on Probation (2018)
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Michael C. Taggart, who operates Lake Washington Chiropractic in Kirkland, Washington, has been subjected to three regulatory actions by Washington's Chiropractic Quality Assurance Commission:
- In 1998, he was accused of failing to keep adequate notes, altering chart notes, and using incorrect billing codes in connection of his treatment of a patient. In 1999, he agreed to a stipulation of informal disposition under which he was required to pay costs of $459.11 and complete seven hours of continuing education courses in record-keeping and billing.
- In 2012, he was accused of taking x-rays of two patients with improper collimation. (Collimation is a narrowing of the x-ray beam to minimize radiation exposure.) The case was settled with a stipulation of informal disposition under which he was required to pay costs of $1,722.17, complete six hours of continuing education courses in the area of x-ray technique, and pass the commission's jurisprudence examination.
- In 2018, the Commission alleged that a patient had pre-paid him $4,650 for a treatment plan that included two devices on the state's non-approved list (the Rebuilder/TENS and an oxygen therapy device) plus a $500 "start-up fee" and a "$75 clerical fee." The commission was also concerned about the adequacy of Taggart's records. The case was settled with a stipulation of informal disposition in which Taggart was placed on probation for at least two years and was required to (a) complete 24 hours of continuing education credits in the areas of documentation and ethics, (b) cooperate with any audits or inspections ordered by the commission, (c) submit a typewritten report of at least 500 words about charging excessive fees and using unapproved procedures, (d) refund $4,417.50 that the patient had paid him, (e) Reimburse the commission $2,000 for costs, and (f) pass the commission's jurisprudence examination.
In all three cases, Taggart admitted no wrongdoing. and the "informal disposition" was not classified as a disciplinary action. Taggart's Web states that he is "an expert in functional medicine" and uses applied kinesiology muscle testing to determine causes. Applied kinesiology is a pseudoscienfic practice based on the notion that problems throughout the body can be diagnosed by testing muscle strength and remedied with dietary supplements.
STATE OF WASHINGTON
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
CHIROPRACTIC QUALITY ASSURANCE COMMISSION
In the Matter of
MICHAEL C. TAGGART
STIPULATION TO INFORMAL
1.1 The Executive Director of the Chiropractic Quality Assurance Commission (Commission), on designation by the Commission, has made the following allegations.
A. On March 11, 1992, the State of Washington issued Respondent a credential to practice as a chiropractor. Respondent's credential is currently active.
B. From approximately May 2016 through July 2018, Respondent provided chiropractic treatment to Patient A, who pre-paid approximately four thousand six hundred fifty dollars ($4,650.00) to a future care contract.
C. Respondent wrote a treatment plan to Patient A that included both the ReBuilder/TENS unit and oxygen therapy. The ReBuilderfTENS unit is on the Washington Administrative Code's non-approved list. Respondent listed on Patient A's patient ledger several service codes called, "O2NEURO," for one hundred thirty dollars ($130.00) each. Oxygen, with an exception being only for emergency purposes with the appropriate training, is listed on the non-approved list.
D. Respondent billed a "start-up fee" of five hundred dollars ($500.00}and a "clerical fee" of seventy-five dollars ($75.00).
1.2 Respondent does not admit any of the allegations in' the Statement of Allegations and Summary of Evidence or in Paragraph 1.1 above. This Stipulation to Informal Disposition (Stipulation) shall not be construed as a finding of unprofessional conduct or inability to practice.
1.3 Respondent acknowledges that a finding of unprofessional conduct or inability to practice based on the above allegations, if proven, would constitute grounds for discipline under RCW 18.130.180(7), WAC 246-808-400, WAC 246-808-505, and WAC 246-808-560.
1.4 Respondent agrees that under RCW 18.130.172, any sanction as set forth in RCW 18.130.160, except subsections (1), (2), (6), and (8), may be imposed as part of this Stipulation, but the Respondent may agree to reimburse the disciplining authority the costs of investigation and processing the complaint up to an amount not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) per allegation.
1.5 The parties wish to resolve this matter by means of this Stipulation pursuant to RCW 18.130.172(1).
1.6 This Stipulation is of no force and effect and is not binding on the parties unless and until it is accepted by the Commission.
1.7 This Stipulation is not formal disciplinary action. However, if the Commission accepts this Stipulation, it will be reported to the National Practitioner Databank (45 CFR Part 60) and elsewhere as required by law. It is a public document and will be placed on .the Department of Health's website and otherwise disseminated as required by the Public Records Act (Chap. 42.56 RCW).
1.8 The Commission agrees to forgo further disciplinary proceedings concerning the allegations.
1.9 Respondent agrees to successfully complete the terms and conditions of this informal disposition.
1.10 Respondent understands that a violation of this Stipulation, if proven, would constitute grounds for discipline under RCW 18.130.180 and the imposition of sanctions under RCW 18.130.160.
2. COMPLIANCE WITH SANCTION RULES
2.1 The disciplining authority applies WAC 246-16-800, et seq., to determine appropriate sanctions. WAC 246-16-800(2)(c) requires the disciplining authority to impose terms based on a specific sanction schedule unless the schedule does not adequately address the facts in a case."
2.2 Respondent's alleged conduct falls In Tier A of the "Practice Below Standard of Care" schedule, WAC 246-16-810. The sanction range associated with that tier does adequately address the alleged facts of this case.
2.3 The disciplining authority considered the following aggravating factors:
A. Past disciplinary record.
3. INFORMAL DISPOSITION
The parties agree to the following:
3.1 Respondent's credential to practice as a chiropractor In the state of Washington shall be placed on PROBATION for at least two (2) years commencing on the effective date of this Stipulation, During the course of probation. Respondent shall comply with all of the following terms and conditions:
3.2 In addition to mandatory continuing education, within one (1) year of the effective date of this Stipulation, Respondent shall complete twenty-four (24) hours of continuing education, pre-approved by the Commission or its designee, as follows:
A. Twelve (12) hours of continuing education in the area of documentation.
B. Twelve (12) hours of continuing education in the area of ethics.
Respondent shall provide the Commission with proof of completion of such continuing education within thirty (30) days of such completion. Failure to complete the required minimum hours of pre-approved continuing education in the specified areas within the specified time(s) shall constitute a violation of this Stipulation.
3.3 In addition to any other inspections it may make, the Department of Health and/or Commission may audit records, documentation, and X-rays; as well as review Respondent's practice at his place of employment on an unannounced basis up to two (2) times per year for the duration of the probation period or unless deemed no longer required by the Commission or its designee if Respondent is notified in writing. If Respondent fails to comply with the audit or the investigator finds any violations during the audit, it will be considered a violation of this Stipulation and the disciplinary authority may take further action against Respondent's credential.
3.4 Respondent shall submit a typewritten report of at least five hundred (500) words on charging excessive fees and utilizing procedures and instrumentation not approved for use on the public reflects poorly on the profession of chiropractic. This report is to be submitted to the Commission for review and approval no later than six (6) months from the effective date of this Stipulation.
3.5 Within six (6) months of the effective date of this Stipulation, Respondent shall refund to Patient A (and/or any other payor(s) or entity who paid on Patient A's behalf) four thousand four hundred seventeen dollars and fifty cents ($4,417.50), plus any and all other fees that Respondent charged for treatment of Patient A. Respondent shall. submit proof of payment, to the Commission for the above-referenced services, in the form of a canceled check(s) to payors within six (6) months and twenty (20) days of the effective date of this Stipulation. Failure to refund the fees charged to Patient A (and/or other payer) and to provide the Commission with proof of payment within the specified times shall be a violation of this Stipulation.
3.6 Respondent shall reimburse costs to the Commission in the amount of two thousand dollars ($2,000.00), which must be received by the Commission within six (6} months of the effective date of this Stipulation. The reimbursement shall be paid by personal check, certified or cashier's check, or money order, made payable to the Department of Health and mailed to the Department of Health, Chiropractic Quality Assurance Commission at PO Box 1099, Olympia, WA 98507-1099. Credit or Debit cards can also be used for payment at the front counter of the Department of Health building at 111 Israel Road SE, Tumwater, WA 98501, during regular business hours.
3.7 Respondent shall take and pass the Commission's jurisprudence examination within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this Stipulation. The examination fee of one hundred dollars ($100.00) must be received by the Commission before the examination is sent. The examination fee shall be paid by personal check, cashier's check, or money order, made payable to the Department of Health and mailed to the Department of Health, Chiropractic Quality Assurance Commission at PO Box 1099, Olympia, WA 98507-1099. Credit or debit cards can also be used for payment at the front counter at the Department of Health building at 111 Israel Road SE, Tumwater, WA 98501, during regular business hours.
3.8 Respondent shall obey all federal. state and local laws and all administrative rules governing the practice of the profession in Washington.
3.9 The Commission or its designee may verify Respondent's compliance with the terms and condition$ of this Stipulation, if applicable.
3.10 Any documents required by this Stipulation shall be sent to the Chiropractic Quality Assurance Commission at PO Box 47858, Olympia; WA 98504-7858.
3.11 Respondent is responsible for all costs of complying with this Stipulation.
3.12 Respondent shall inform the Chiropractic Quality Assurance Commission, in writing, of changes in Respondent's residential and/or business address within thirty (30) days of the change. The mailing address for the Chiropractic Quality Assurance Commission is PO Box 47858, Olympia, WA 98504-7858.
3.13 The effective date of this Stipulation is the date the Adjudicative Clerk Office (places the signed Stipulation into the U.S. mail. If required, Respondent shall not submit any fees or compliance documents until after the effective date of this Stipulation.
4. RESPONDENT'S ACCEPTANCE
l, Michael C. Taggart, have read, understand and agree to this Stipulation. This Stipulation may be presented to the Commission without my appearance. I understand that I will receive a signed copy if the Commission accepts this Stipulation.
MICHAEL C. TAGGART
DONNA M. MONIZ, WSBA #12762
ATTORNEY FOR RESPONDENT
5. COMMISSION ACCEPTANCE
The Commission accepts this Stipulation to Informal Disposition. All parties shall be bound by its terms and conditions.
DATED: March 2, 2018
STATE OF WASHINGTON
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
CHIROPRACTIC QUALITY ASSURANCE COMMISSION
PATRICK HANLEY, JR., WSBA #28924
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH STAFF ATTORNEY
DATE: MARCH 2, 2018
This page was posted on March 12, 2018.