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9/23/2012 6:01:00 AM
No fraud found in probe of Kingman therapy business
Complaints by ex-employees led to review
Kerry Deering
Kerry Deering

Erin Taylor
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - An investigation into the billing practices of a local occupational therapist did not find any evidence of fraud, according to a state board charged with overseeing such practices.

Kerry Deering was investigated by the Arizona Board of Occupational Therapy after a complaint was filed last November by several former employees of Deering Therapy Services.

Board Director Randy Frost said an investigation into the complaint determined that while there were problems with the way certain items were coded on bills, there was no indication of fraud or that Deering somehow financially benefited from the errors.

He said the errors involved improper coding of procedures that he said resulted from a lack of supervision rather than malice.

"This was more a case of an office that was kind of run fast and loose and was very busy and wasn't getting proper

management at certain times," Frost said.

No financial sanction was levied by the board. Deering, who previously served a four-year term on the Kingman City Council, was ordered earlier this month to complete 16 hours of continuing education in the next year on topics such as billing and management.

A similar complaint against Deering's wife, who works as a physical therapist, is under investigation by the Arizona Board of Physical Therapists.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Article comment by: Another Therapist

@ Former Patient

You are correct to have some doubts. The state board allows a tech (or aide) to assist with patient care. Many insurances do not allow payment for those services.

Medicare states: "Services provided by aides, even if under the supervision of a therapist, are not therapy services and are not covered by Medicare. Although an aide may help the therapist by providing unskilled services, those services that are unskilled are not covered by Medicare and shall be denied as not reasonable and necessary if they are billed as therapy services" Page 193 230.1, C

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Article comment by: Former Patient

@ Mary L
I too, am a former patient and this is a little concerning. I was seen for about an hour each visit. I was with the therapist or his assistant for about 10-15 minutes total. The rest of the time I was with a "technician". Now I am wondering if there are some discrepancies in the billing because of the lack of one-on-one with Kerry himself. I received good care at this clinic but I was unaware I was spending most of my time there by unlicensed employees.

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Article comment by: Give Me A Break

@ Wake up- Again, you dont know what you are talking about.. PT and OT are two different disciplines, therfore they have different boards! Kerry and Kim Deering are the OWNERS of the business and are BOTH equally responsible and need to be held accountable for the accusations. Whether I know anything about this case or not, it doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure this out! Maybe you should do some research, because I did mine before commenting!

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012
Article comment by: Concerned Therapist

Beware when someone claims 'witch hunt". As concerned consumers the people of Kingman should be able to make informed decisions about who provides their healthcare and what their credentials are. I would advise any person in this area to ask their "therapist" about their education and their licensure. Physical or Occupational Therapists hold a degree in their profession (Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctorate.) They are NOT simply technicians or aides who have recieved on the job training. They take exams in order to be licensed or certified in the state they practice in. ONLY a licensed or certified therapist has the expertise and skill to provide rehabilitation services in the best interest of YOUR health and well-being. Don't make the assumption that this is simply a case of "disgruntled" employees looking for revenge. Exercise your right to demand the best.

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012
Article comment by: abcdefg ....

the state agency determined that this man did not benefit financially from what took place. That should clear his name, which should not be considered to have been tarnished in the first place (I started a business in Kingman, and experienced suspicion towards me when an employee apparently did some things wrong. It's a lousy feeling, as you're providing employment and cannot always watch them every moment).

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012
Article comment by: Linda Athens

Mary L:

Successful people may buy a plane if they so choose. I have no clue if Deerings own a plane. If they do - good for them. They put in the hours to get to where they are - they certainly have a right to buy whatever they want with their own money. It's called free enterprise or simply America, land of opportunity.

To the person insisting on wrong billing. Three years in a row, I have received a letter from Medicare asking what my $15,000 charge from an accident is for. I had no accident, no such charge. I called the 800 number repeatedly, no call returned, took the various bills to the billing department where I go, a search showed no such charge by them. Still, once a year I get a similar letter. The last one, I threw in the garbage.

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012
Article comment by: Wake Up

@ Give Me A Break

That's exactly my point, suddenly they're both turned in to separate governing boards at the same time? So you know something that the rest of don't know about this case? Hmm, now that is strange!

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012
Article comment by: Give Me A Break

@ Wake Up- There is nothing strange about any of this..maybe you should check your sources before you post your comment, because the Deerings were turned into the OT and PT boards at the same time. I dont believe anyone is trying to destroy these people, I think that they are just trying to protect their "small town" from being ripped off.

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012
Article comment by: Wake Up

Well, found guilty or not, this mans reputation is already tarnished now, especially in a small town like Kingman.
Awfully strange that they would first go after him and now his wife, somebody's trying to destroy these people.

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012
Article comment by: What An Outcome

@ Just a Fact, you CANNOT receive "Whistleblower Compensation" from turning in someone to the BOARD, that would be Medicare! At that, Medicare would have to find they committed fraud.. know what you are saying before you post something! Also, they were turned into the board for fraudulent activity and lack of supervision of their unlicensed staff. No matter the care from Kerry and Kim towards their patients, laws are laws. And if you notice, he was still given a punishment in continued ed for BILLING and MANAGEMENT, therefore the board obviously found he was still in the wrong otherwise it would have been dismissed entirely.

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: John Salem

This whole thing is nothing more than a witch hunt. Kim and Kerry are wonderful people and terrific at their craft. I have had both of my knees replaced. I had my rehab done both times and Deering. Excellent patient care on both occasions. The whole staff is fantastic. Kingman is lucky to have this type of care. Thank you Kim and Kerry Deering for all of your hard work, dedication and service to your community. John Salem.

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: Mary L

I think this should be investigated further. As, a former patient of this therapist I can say that I saw billing discrepancies.. I was charged for things that were not done that day.I was rarely treated by Kerry himself, usually another lady with glasses. I also find it hard to believe that he didnt gain financially from it. He is always talking about his plane and how his kids went to private schools in other states. For being a home town boy of Kingman, its weird he doesn't want his kids to go to school here.

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: CHARLES & PAMALA FORSYTH

Well I see how a couple of Employess that has been fired for not doing there job right the first. And so thay reported to the state of Arizona Medical Billing Department to see if thay could get there Employer in Truble for firing them anyway.

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: Linda Athens

I'm not suprised at this outcome. I have had therapy at Deerings and basically, thank them for still being able to walk. Their therapy was exceptional, done by dedicated employees. Yes, they were busy - a sign they did a good job.

Mrs. Deering was simply the best at laying out a program for me that actually worked, sent me home with exercises I do to this day. years later. And I can still walk farther now than I could when I started with them. I have to say, she was able to explain my condition better than the Dr who sent me there years back. .

The Deerings were next door neighbors of mine over 40 years ago. Hard working, raised their children right, Mother also in the health care field, the first to help me when a son broke his leg in six places. It would be a stretch to think Kerry Deering was guilty of this accusation.

By comparison, I was sent to therapy at another facility here. No hot packs prior to therapy and the person working on me was one that moved every six months. When he insisted on putting me on a rowing maching, I repeatedly said my shoulder dislocates. He insisted. It dislocated my shoulder. There is the difference.

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: Lisa Masters

I'm surprised! I've received treatment at Deering Therapy and both Kerry and Kim have been wonderful! They're both very attention to a patients' needs and asks questions about how they're doing. When they see you in the hall or you pass their office, they're more likely to come out and ask how you're doing rather than hide in the office like most doctors would!

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: steve carey

"looking good Kerry"
It's been a few years but the deerings always made me feel as importion as the next guy or gal , I thank him for the use of my hands , sure he is busy and has an office that seems to be always busy , I always thought that was a good sign of some one doing there job and doing them well , so now days with all the changes in paper work and the differant kinds of insurance's , I would be guessing but I am sure he is trying to do his best , but he is the guy on the top and it's his buissness to make sure his billing is done right .

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: just a fact

Sounds like someone looking for whistleblower compensation. Mr. Deering hires someone to do the coding. He & his wife are OTs and PTs and should be practicing their trade not watching over office practices.

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