Drug and alcohol counselors offer treatment and support to patients who have substance abuse dependencies. Their goal is to help people to overcome addictions and thrive through a sober lifestyle. Although one drug and alcohol counselor in Oklahoma was licensed to provide counseling services to qualified Medicaid recipients, an article on KFOR.com reports that she took advantage of the federal benefits program and billed for counseling services she never provided.
Further research on the story shows that the 59-year-old woman billed Medicaid for services while receiving hair and nail treatments. (It appears that the she had a bad habit of her own.) She also visited her son, who happened to be serving time in prison, while billing for counseling services. (It appears the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.)
The substance abuse counselor pleaded guilty to one count of Medicaid fraud and was sentenced to 21 months in prison. She also was ordered to pay more than $140,000 in restitution.
Counselors have the potential to have a positive impact on their patients. In this case, the substance abuse counselor was interested in improving her life, but not the lives of her patients. (However, she looked good while not providing any services.) Bad habits die hard, but let’s hope that while serving time, the drug and alcohol counselor will have a chance to examine her motives for defrauding her patients, American taxpayers and the government, while receiving the counseling she needs in order to turn her life around.