In a recent Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts written opinion regarding a Massachusetts Medicare false claim and larceny case, the court upheld the trial court conviction of the defendant for four counts of violating the Medicaid false claims statute, and one count of larceny over $250 by false pretenses, holding that the trial court was correct in its decisions. The Supreme Judicial Court concluded that due to a variety of reasons, the five claims made by the defendant are not compelling, and subsequently, affirmed the trial court decision.
Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, on April 8, 2014, the defendant signed a provider contract agreeing to “comply with all federal and state laws, regulations, and rules.” In 2015, the defendant overruled the assessment of a registered nurse regarding the care of two patients, directing that the two patients receive more hours than the registered nurse had determined was necessary for their care. These directions would become the basis for the larceny and Medicare false claim charges registered against the defendant.
Additionally, the defendant falsely instructed one of her employees to cover up illegal practices regarding overcharging, telling her to label them “clerical errors” and “inadvertent” even though they were intentional. Another employee involved in the defendant’s billing process raised the alarm, pointing out that home health aides working for the defendant did not have the required training certifications. When she brought this to the attention of the defendant, she was told to continue billing for the services regardless of certification level. Finally, facing an external audit, the defendant engaged in fraudulent practices, attempting to fool auditors by having files faxed to the office to convince outside observers that the files were received from external doctors when they were in fact sent by the defendant back to herself.