View Full Version : Arthur Copes (brace designer) sentenced to 3 years for fraud

1st February 2009, 10:48 PM
Hi everyone,

It has been reported that Arthur Copes, founder of a nonsurgical scoliosis clinic in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and designer of the Copes brace, has been sentenced to three years in prison for insurance fraud.

Copes is mentioned on the Quackwatch here (http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/copes.html), and the following report is taken from 2theadvocate.com (http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/38738672.html):

Ex-clinic owner in BR gets 3 years in insurance fraud

The former owner of a now-defunct Baton Rouge scoliosis treatment clinic has been sentenced to three years in prison at hard labor for insurance fraud.

State District Judge Anthony Marabella, who convicted Arthur Copes in July, also ordered the 51-year-old brace designer to pay $30,000 in fines and make full restitution to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and to several former patients.

Assistant State Attorney General Butch Wilson said the restitution will total about $100,000.

Copes, who is not a medical doctor, testified last summer that he neither practiced medicine without a license nor billed insurers for procedures that were not approved by medical professionals. Copes also testified he did not know why staff members at his former clinic billed insurers for procedures that needed to be approved by a licensed medical professional.

“Mr. Copes, you don’t get it. I fear you will continue to do this if I don’t take drastic action,’’ Marabella said Thursday.

“The harm is what you might do because of your lack of qualifications and licensing.’’

Copes’ attorney, Ed Gonzales, said he hopes Copes is remembered for the good work he has done “and not for the failings that the court found.’’

Gonzales said he will appeal Copes’ convictions on eight counts of insurance fraud if Copes authorizes him to do so.

Gonzales characterized the state’s case against Copes as billing errors misconstrued as criminal.

The Attorney General’s Office contends Copes allegedly treated patients at his clinic, then sent bills to insurance companies indicating the patients had been treated by a licensed chiropractor.

The Scoliosis Treatment Recovery System Clinic on Picardy Avenue had closed by the time Copes was arrested in February 2006.

Sadly I know of several people who paid a lot of money for Copes treatment and found it to be ineffective. Please, everyone, make sure that you check the credentials of ANYONE (whether a doctor or a nonsurgical therapist) under whom you intend to seek treatment, and make sure that they are fully qualified and that any treatment they offer has been subject to independent clinical tests to prove its safety and efficacy.

2nd February 2009, 11:01 PM
I have been in the O and P industry for 10 years in the baton rouge area and there is no way
to bill that much money to a major insurance company without knowing what you did was wrong
he sure cashed those checks I think arthur copes is a predator and he got less than he deserved

14th February 2009, 05:17 AM
I am very happy to hear that this man is in prison. It's too bad that he can't be in prison for longer, not only for the insurance fraud but also for the suffering of some people I read about that were in his program. One of my family members looked up information about Copes to see if we could do anything legally against the man. Unfortunately, no. Since he did not physically hurt me, I can´t pursue anything. The news articles I read regarding Copes and his program were about patients who suffered as a result of his treatment methods, including the brace itself. The man made a brace for me and the brace actually made my scoliosis worse in the middle curve, which is my worst. It also turns out that this man was not a real doctor. He was just pretending to be one. Take a look at his so-called credentials and you will see what I mean. I can't believe that I received treatment from this guy and I trusted him with my scoliosis treatment and recovery. Unfortunately, I am not the only one who had the wool pulled over her eyes. I did not like this man from the moment I met him. The man told my mother, with me in the room, that if I did not wear the brace, she should hit me in the face. What real doctor says that to a patient's mother? None.

25th December 2009, 10:49 AM
Bad bed side manner is one thing. But this man is ahead of his time in scoliosis knowledge and treatment. Scoliosis is a difficult fight for the patient and the doctor.
Since studying the Copes method a few years ago, I decided not to focus so much on this part of my career. It takes quite a bit of gusto to take care of these patients.
However, the patient that got me started studying the Copes method was a white Russian female age 45. The Lumbar curvature of 50 degrees improved to 39 degrees after 11 months. This is one degree per month as Dr. Copes predicted. As reluctant as I was to proceed with the amount of care prescribed, the care plan got results.
I understand that the average cost of surgery is $75,000? This got Copes basically thrown out of 'the brotherhood', as he was a potential threat to this market. Thats why he turned to training chiropractors, as I understand.

25th December 2009, 11:27 AM
Hello Spinedoc,

Welcome to SSO! This website is based in the UK where chiropractors are not considered to be medically qualified doctors, so we will be asking you to change your name as it could confuse our members. Another chiropractor on this board has been understanding of this and I hope you will be too :) We're happy to hear from all sorts of professionals, whether medically qualified or alternative practitioners, but don't want any of our members to feel they may be misled.

Whilst you are of the opinion that Copes was "ahead of his time", as others here have said there are plenty of people for whom the treatment did not work. This is besides the fact that he is a convicted criminal.

I can only repeat what I said earlier: "Please, everyone, make sure that you check the credentials of ANYONE (whether a doctor or a nonsurgical therapist) under whom you intend to seek treatment, and make sure that they are fully qualified and that any treatment they offer has been subject to independent clinical tests to prove its safety and efficacy."

25th December 2009, 01:16 PM
There are doctors of Theology, Physics, .....Doctors of Medicine... the list is quite vast.
I am a Doctor of Chiropractic by title. Chiropractic is the only non-medical health profession that has not died out or merged with the medical profession, to be altered in a way to suite an alopathic model to my knowledge.
There have been several growth spurts in the chiropractic profession. The first major of these was following the flu epidemic in the early 1900's. One of the reasons was that the medical doctors lost many more patients on the average. One reason was probably due to the administration of cough suppressants which prevented the lungs from discharging and the other was medications that reduce fever which is necessary to activate immune response and conserve the patients energy.
The main mission in my life is to help patients get what they want, and that is better health. I hope we are on the same wave here.
what about a name like spinealign would that be better for the site

25th December 2009, 02:15 PM
Yes, Spinealign would be much better :) The only problem with "Spinedoc" is that, this being a UK-based site, people naturally assume that doctors are medically qualified. In this country you can be a Doctor of Chiropractic (or indeed an academic doctor in any field) but by law you have to state explicitly that you are not medically qualified every time you use the title Doctor in a medical context.

I will change your name for you now if you like?

26th December 2009, 03:56 PM
Greetings Spinedoc (Spinealign)

I see you are from Moscow! I have deep Agashkin roots from Kiev. I have a keen interest in the non surgical methods that may be used in Russia at this time. The Buteyko method comes to mind - my dad used this for several years in treating his COPD and emphysema with much success (he learned the method in Russia), and while I have read that it may provide relief for scoliosis patients also, I have little information on that. Certainly if the method involves chest wall improvement, there could be much merit it it (reference Martha Hawes). http://www.buteyko.com/?gclid=CK2up4Gk9J4CFU1M5Qod1XNWLA

Many years ago I actually considered the Copes treatment, spoke to other patients (who were quite happy with their results), and I have actually searched certain other forum achieves for information (again finding positive input). I do think it may be possible that Mr. Copes possesses some valuable information regarding scoliosis treatment, and I have heard of others who researched his methods. What kept me from trying his brace was time and money! More importantly, I didn't want to have to travel to Louisiana for every adjustment and I could not trust others less experienced than himself to do the job.

The controversy surrounding the man is far better known than his method - and unfortunately his method may have been something to pay attention to - I believe he was one of the first in the US to envision treatment in terms of 3D. What happened? I think he got greedy, and in so doing destroyed not only his life's work, but information that may have proved valuable to others in the search for answers we all seek. There is also a certain patient in California who actually was harmed by the adjustments done by those other than himself, even though they were supposedly trained in his method. She is seeking damages I believe.

I think what got Mr. Copes thrown out of the "brotherhood" was, misrepresentation of his credentials and insurance fraud - had his success rate been phenomenal, he would have experienced the world at his feet, seeking his knowledge. Actually, his success rate was good enough to bring a few notable inquiring minds to his doorstep - however, I think they would be hesitant to advertise that fact now, in light of the controversy.

If we put all medical professionals under the electron microscope, we may find more insurance over billing than we would imagine. But, misrepresentation of credentials - not something that can be overlooked - in any regard, in any setting. Tonibunny's advice being - both wise and prudent. :ythat:

26th December 2009, 04:46 PM
I did not like this man from the moment I met him. The man told my mother, with me in the room, that if I did not wear the brace, she should hit me in the face.

OMG ... total red flag! Also, if that mid curve was increased due to treatment - I call that damage. :rant3:

2nd January 2010, 04:23 AM
I was surprised when I found out that this man was a fraud. I went through the program and, unfortunately, did not see any positive results. My back actually got worse after one brace I had. I really wish that there were harsher consequences to his actions. He did not only commit insurance fraud, but I read news articles from other patients that claimed his braces caused them physical damage.