pacific hospital
Pacific Hospital. File photo.

A South Bay chiropractor was sentenced today to 14 months in federal prison for taking kickbacks from Pacific Hospital—a medical center in Long Beach whose then-owner was later imprisoned—and for soliciting kickbacks from another Southern California hospital.

Brian Carrico, 68, of Redondo Beach, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Josephine L. Staton, who also ordered him to pay a fine of $25,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Carrico pleaded guilty in February to one count of soliciting kickbacks—the same day his two Redondo Beach-based companies, Performance Medical & Rehab Center Inc. and One Accord Management Inc., each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to solicit kickbacks.

Staton on Friday also sentenced Carrico’s companies to one year of probation and fined them each $250,000, prosecutors said.

Carrico is a licensed chiropractor who owned Performance Medical & Rehab Center, which treated injured workers. Surgeons saw patients at Performance Medical’s offices. Carrico also owned One Accord Management, which provided billing, collection and other support services for Performance Medical.

His partner, William Parker, 68, of Redondo Beach, owned Union Choice Therapy Network, which had a contract with Pacific Hospital and paid One Accord money from that contract. Last month, Parker was sentenced to a year and one day in federal prison and was fined $5,500. He also pleaded guilty in February to one count of soliciting kickbacks.

From June 2004 to December 2013, Carrico and Parker participated in a kickback scheme in which Pacific Hospital overpaid for the value of services performed under its Union Choice contract to induce Carrico and Parker to refer patients to the medical center for surgeries and other treatment.

Pacific Hospital specialized in surgeries, especially spinal and orthopedic procedures. The owner of Pacific Hospital, Michael D. Drobot, conspired with doctors, chiropractors and marketers to pay kickbacks in return for the referral of thousands of patients to Pacific Hospital for spinal surgeries and other medical services paid for primarily through the California workers’ compensation system, federal prosecutors said.

During its final five years, the scheme resulted in the submission of more than $500 million in medical bills for spine surgeries involving kickbacks. To date, 22 defendants have been convicted for participating in the kickback scheme.

In April 2013, law enforcement searched Pacific Hospital. Later that year, Carrico learned Pacific Hospital was going to be sold and the kickback scheme would end. Rather than cease their criminal conduct after the Pacific Hospital search, Carrico and Parker then approached an executive at a different hospital and solicited kickbacks from him, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

As the licensed medical professional, Carrico “had control and influence over the location where patients had spinal surgeries,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “Patients are not commodities that can be traded for kickbacks.”