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Social Worker Pays $145,855 To Settle False Claims Allegations

A Connecticut social worker has agreed to pay nearly $150,000 for bilking Medicaid.
A Connecticut social worker has agreed to pay nearly $150,000 for bilking Medicaid. Photo Credit: File

A social worker in Connecticut has agreed to pay nearly $150,000 after billing Medicaid for psychotherapy services that were provided by unlicensed individuals.

Cheshire resident Patricia McAlinden, who owns a private practice in Connecticut, has entered into a civil settlement agreement with the federal and state government to pay $145,855 to resolve claims that she violated False Claims Acts.

McAlinden will also be suspended from the Connecticut Medicaid Program for three years as part of the settlement.

U.S. Attorney John Durham said that McAlinden, a Licensed Behavioral Health Clinician in Independent Practice in the Connecticut Medical Assistance Program, billed Medicaid for services as if she had provided them, when they were instead provided through unlicensed individuals.

Durham noted that the Connecticut Department of Social Services Provider Manual for Licensed Behavioral Health Clinicians in Independent Practice explicitly states, “The department shall not pay for…services provided by anyone other than the provider.”

The allegations against McAlinden state that she bilked Medicaid from January 2016 through Sept. 5, 2017. Under the False Claims Act, the government can recover up to three times its actual damages, plus penalties of $11,181 to $22,363 for each false claim.

“Providers must bill Medicaid and other insurance programs accurately,” Durham stated.“The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work with our federal and state partners to protect the integrity of the Medicaid program and ensure its recipients receive the healthcare services they need.”

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