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Absence of License Won’t Topple Chiropractic Fines

(CN) - A man who was fined for 800 violations of Oregon chiropractic rules cannot use his unlicensed status to avert the hefty penalties, the state appeals court ruled.

Tuan Ahn Tran did not dispute a finding by the Board of Chiropractic Examiners that he never sought a license to treat hundreds of chiropractic patients at his two clinics from 2003 to 2008.

The board proposed a fine of $250 for each of those 560 rule violations, along with more than 200 forgeries on medical charts, insurance forms, and Medicare and Medicaid forms.

With the fine set to top $201,250, Tran asked the Oregon Court of Appeals to review that order. He claimed that the board had authority only to fine licensed chiropractors or those who had applied for a license.

The Salem-based court found otherwise on Jan. 16, noting that changes the Legislature made to the applicable law in 1985 also gave the board power to regulate unlicensed practitioners like Tran.

"Because the most persuasive evidence of the legislature's intent is 'the words by which the legislature undertook to give its wishes, we do not need independent evidence that legislators wished to expand the scope of the board's authority," Judge Rebecca Duncan for a three-member panel.

Tran has also argued that the board could not fine him more than $10,000, but the appeals court ruled that Tran could have been fined up to $10,000 for each violation.

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