Two Psychologists Charged in $25.2 Million Fraud Scheme Involving Psychological Testing in Gulf Coast States
WASHINGTON—Two clinical psychologists were charged today with participating in a $25 million Medicare fraud scheme involving psychological testing in nursing homes in Gulf Coast states.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite of the Eastern District of Louisiana, Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Anderson of the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office and Special Agent in Charge C.J. Porter of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Dallas Regional Office made the announcement.
Beverly Stubblefield, Ph.D., 62, of Slidell, Louisiana, and John Teal, Ph.D., 46, of Jackson, Mississippi, were charged by a superseding indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to make false statements related to health care matters. Two other defendants, Rodney Hesson, Psy.D., 46, and Gertrude Parker, 62, both of Slidell, were charged in the initial indictment returned in June 2015 in connection with a large-scale Medicare Fraud takedown, and were also charged in today’s superseding indictment.
According to the superseding indictment, Hesson and Parker owned and controlled Nursing Home Psychological Service (NHPS) and Psychological Care Services (PCS), each of which operated in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama. The superseding indictment alleges that NHPS and PCS contracted with nursing homes in these states to allow NHPS and PCS clinical psychologists, including Stubblefield, Teal and Hesson, to administer to nursing home residents psychological tests and related services that were not necessary and, in some instances, never provided.
According to the superseding indictment, between 2009 and 2015, NHPS and PCS submitted more than $25.2 million in claims to Medicare. Medicare paid approximately $17 million on those claims.
The charges and allegations contained in an indictment are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Louisiana. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys William Kanellis and Antonio Pozos of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrice Harris Sullivan of the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged over 2,300 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for over $7 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.