According to an article published in the News & Observer, a North Carolina woman, who ran a counseling business, scammed Medicaid by using patient ID numbers to bill the government benefits program for services that were not needed nor provided. (Did I mention the ID numbers did not belong to her patients?)
The story states that the 46-year-old woman’s business provided mental health assessments and treatment from two offices. The victims of the scheme testified that they had never heard of the counselor or her practice. (They weren’t even her patients.) Through her fraudulent billing practices, the deceptive woman was able to bilk approximately $1 million from Medicaid. (It would be interesting to know how she obtained the beneficiary ID numbers.)
The counselor pleaded guilty to health care fraud and money laundering. She could get up to 10 years in prison for her illegal billing practices. The criminal also will have to make restitution to the Medicaid program.
While this article does not mention if the perpetrator was licensed to provide mental health services, this woman has violated a long list of ethics that are common to the mental health profession. Licensed counselors have to agree to not harm, but protect the welfare of their patients. Unfortunately, in this case, this defendant did cause harm to her victims and those beneficiaries who deserve to have mental health services. (Let’s hope that the judge will order a mental health assessment for this defendant in hopes that she will receive the treatment she needs in order to function as a mentally healthy adult.)