Chiropractor Pleads No Contest to Insurance Fraud for Allegedly Bilking Food Allergy Patients

Dr Benjamin Darrow

Benjamin Darrow, a licensed chiropractor practicing from his office in Daly City, CA, pleaded “no contest” yesterday to insurance fraud and other charges related to food allergy tests he performed that are not accepted as effective nor covered by insurance companies.

According to the San Mateo District County Attorney’s Office as reported by SFGate, Darrow pleaded “not guilty” to a number of other charges including theft of over $100,000. He is subject to up to two years in prison.

He operated three businesses — Darrow Chiropractic, Pacific Spine and Joint, and Coastside Medical — out of his Daly City office. There he frequently offered ALCAT testing which is not recognized as effective for the diagnosis of food allergies.

Click to visit sponsor

Despite claiming that he performed the analysis on-site, Darrow drew blood from over 250 patients and sent the samples to an external lab where he was charged $600 per patient. He would then charge the patient’s insurance company $3000. Utilizing this scheme, Darrow is alleged to have reaped over $790,000 in insurance reimbursements.

ALCAT is generally marketed as a “food sensitivity” test directly to consumers via the internet by Cell Science Systems (CSS), et al.

CSS issues the following disclaimer on their website:

Note: The ALCAT Test does not make a medical diagnosis nor is it a substitute for health or medical advice. If you have a medical condition you should seek a qualified healthcare practitioner.

The laboratory analysis includes the immune biological reactions of the white blood cells. The ALCAT Test® does not measure food allergies (type 1/IgE). Since these reactions can be serious, you should seek the help of an allergy specialist if you suspect or have food allergies.

Click to visit sponsor

Dr John M Kelso, MD of the Division of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Scripps Clinic, San Diego, CA provided the following advisory regarding ALCAT testing in his article entitled Unproven Diagnostic Tests for Adverse Reactions to Foods, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice in March 2018:

A critical published review of the ALCAT test concluded that although the apparatus (Coulter counter) is validated, data are not available on technical parameters of reagent quality, analytical sensitivity, measurement range, analytical specificity, precision, or accuracy nor clinical parameters of clinical sensitivity, clinical specificity, or predictive values. A more recent review agreed, stating that “the ALCAT test system is for the time being relying on unproven statements that lack scientific and clinical proofs of efficacy.”

According to the prosecutor, Darrow would disguise his invoices to insurance companies to hide that fact that he was offering ALCAT testing which would not otherwise be covered.

Darrow remains free on $350,000 bond and is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on July 2.

Print or share this article
Click to visit sponsor