Risk Management

Florida AG Chokes Off Medicaid Fraud

Six executives, including the CFO, of a respiratory acute care company are arrested for padding claims.
Marie LeoneFebruary 23, 2007

Nancy Ann Wood, the chief financial officer of Acute Care Team Inc., and five of her co-workers were arrested in Manatee County, Florida, on charges of Medicaid fraud and organized fraud. The six individuals, who were arrested on Friday, allegedly bilked the state Medicaid program out of more than $2.6 million in counterfeit billing claims, according to Bill McCollum, Florida’s State Attorney General.

Also arrested were company president Jeanne April Ferguson, office manager Heidi Rickert, supervising respiratory therapist Andrea K. Suarez, and respiratory therapists Carla J. Camacho and Stephanie L. Nichols. A seventh defendant, chief operating officer Cynthia Lee May, is still at large. Acute Care generates $500,000 in revenues annually.

The Attorney General’s office began its investigation last April after the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration handed over information pertaining to suspicious billing claims. Acute Care, which provides respiratory therapy to children, was submitting sizeable claims to the Medicaid program that could not be verified by the parents of patients, say officials.

The facility claimed it provided care to patients several times a week, says McCollum’s office. But parents of the children told investigators they only visited once or twice, and for much shorter times than were reported. In addition, other staff at Acute Care claim they were “pressured to bill for patients they never treated,” says McCollum’s office.

Each defendant was charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, a third-degree felony, and one count of organized fraud, a first-degree felony. If convicted on both counts, each could face up to 30 years in prison and fines of $15,000.