Medicaid fraud cases seem to be rolling off the assembly line. Recently, the largest Medicaid fraud in U.S. history was uncovered in Florida that federal prosecutors have alleged bilked Medicaid out of funds between $100 and $200 million.
In Mississippi, a physician was found guilty of heath care fraud in one of the largest frauds of its kind in that state.
Dr. Cassandra Frye Thomas was convicted of 10 counts by a jury that deliberated less than 4 hours. She faces up to 125 years in prison.
Prosecutors had alleged that Dr. Thomas, who had been found not guilty in a fraud trial one year earlier, had sent unlicensed and untrained medical personnel into the homes of Medicaid patients to render therapy. Over just a two and a half year period, she amassed nearly $7 million in fees.
Medicaid regulations require that licensed physicians provide therapy in their clinics or appear in person at the patients’ homes. Dr. Thomas, who was the owner of the Central Mississippi Physical Medicine company with clinics in Yazoo City and Flora, Mississippi, had hired non-licensed personnel to go to Medicaid recipients’ homes and render the therapy, even though many had had no training in therapy at all.
In some cases, the therapists were apparently told by Dr. Thomas to find patients on their own. Thomas’ defense was that she believed Medicaid and Medicare regulations allowed non-licensed personnel to render therapy in the home. Prosecutors dismissed the defense as nonsense.