Florida Speech Therapist Arrested for Allegedly Defrauding Medicaid
Friday, February 21, 2014
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health LawA licensed speech therapist faces up to five years in prison for allegedly defrauding Medicaid during the summer of 2013. According to the Florida Attorney General (AG), the therapist was arrested on February 7, 2014, for allegedly using falsified records to collect payment for services never rendered. An investigation by the AG's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) and the Orange County Sheriff's Office revealed that the therapist allegedly bilked the Medicaid program out of $8,000.Click here to read the press release from the AG.Speech Therapist Refused Work and Cancelled Appointments.According to the Orlando Sentinel, parents of children assigned to work with the speech therapist stated in interviews that she would regularly cancel appointments. It is also alleged that the therapist would not provide any services during the summer or holidays. According to the Orlando Sentinel, this deprived children of needed speech therapy. To read the entire article from the Orlando Sentinel, click here.The speech therapist is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, which is a third-degree felony. If convicted, the therapist could face up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines and restitution. Additionally, if convicted, this would be a crime of health care fraud. The collateral consequences could be devastating. Tips for Responding to a MFCU Investigative Subpoena.The MFCU is in charge of investigating and prosecuting health care providers suspected of defrauding the state’s Medicaid program. When the unit opens a case against a provider, the first step is usually the issuance of an investigative subpoena, requesting specific records. It is important to remember that the MFCU would not be involved unless criminal fraud was suspected. This is not a routine audit. Click here to read practice tips on how to properly respond to a subpoena.
Fraud Charges Should Not be Taken Lightly.We have been consulted by many individuals, both before and after criminal convictions for fraud or related offenses. In many instances, we are convinced that the person is actually not guilty of fraud. However, in many cases those subject to Medicaid or Medicare fraud audits and investigations refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of the matter or they decide not to spend the money required for a top quality attorney to defend them.If you are accused of Medicare or Medicaid fraud, realize that you are in the fight of your life. Your liberty, life and profession are at stake. You need to sell everything you own, borrow everything you can and hire the absolute best criminal defense attorney available who has experience in defending such cases to represent you.If you win and are acquitted, at least you still have a professional license and can start over. However, if you lose, you will most probably be in prison for years. You will lose your license. You will be excluded from Medicare. You will be a convicted felon. You will have nothing and will have no way of starting over successfully. Do not delude yourself. This is extremely serious. Be prepared to give up whatever you have if you can avoid a conviction.Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Medicaid Audits, Investigations and other Legal Proceedings.Medicaid fraud is a serious crime and is vigorously investigated by the state MFCU, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), the Zone Program Integrity Contractors (ZPICs), the FBI, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Often other state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), and other law enforcement agencies participate. Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you are concerned of any possible violations and would like a confidential consultation, contact a qualified health attorney familiar with medical billing and audits today. Often Medicaid fraud criminal charges arise out of routine Medicaid audits, probe audits, or patient complaints.The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent speech therapists, occupational therapists, vocational therapists, therapy groups, physicians, dentists, orthodontists, medical groups, clinics, pharmacies, assisted living facilities (AFLs), home health care agencies, nursing homes, group homes and other healthcare providers in Medicaid and Medicare investigations, audits and recovery actions. To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.Comments?Have you heard of the MFCU? How would you respond to a subpoena from the MFCU? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.Sources:Stennett, Desiree. "Speech Therapist Stole Thousands from Medicaid, Authorities Say." Orlando Sentinel. (February 7, 2014). From: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2014-02-07/news/os-speech-therapist-medicaid-fraud-20140207_1_campbell-speech-thousandsMeale, Jenn. "Orange County Speech Therapist Arrested for Medicaid Fraud." My Florida Legal. (February 7, 2014). From: http://www.myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/9F90A428413AC20785257C7800689CC4About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.Tag Words: speech therapist, licensed speech therapist, Attorney General (AG), defense attorney, defense lawyer, Florida attorney, Florida lawyer, Florida Medicaid, Florida Medicaid Program, fraudulent claims, Medicaid, Medicaid audit, Medicaid claims, Medicaid fraud, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Medicaid fraud defense attorney, Medicaid fraud defense lawyer, Medicaid investigation, MFCU, falsified records, services never rendered, false claims, health law firm, The Health Law Firm
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