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11 In-Home Care Workers Charged With Medicaid Abuse

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LANSING (WWJ) - Eleven people, many from Metro Detroit, have been charged with Medicaid abuse, to the tune of $60,000.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette announced the felony charges earlier this week, saying the defendants defrauded he Medicaid-funded Independent Living Services Program.

Schuette said all 11 defendants improperly received Medicaid funds intended to pay for home help services for Medicaid beneficiaries. Many of the defendants were family members of Medicaid beneficiaries who allegedly received checks for services rendered to the beneficiaries after they died.

Those charged include: Ollie Brent, 59, of Pontiac; Marilyn Davis, 45, of Harper Woods; Janet Dixon, 59, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Anna Goree, 35, of Detroit; Theresa Hines, 40, of Marcellus; Kristina Jurek, 44, of Macomb; Selandra Jo Mitchell, 46, of Detroit; Marilyn Oakes, 57, of Muskegon; Patricia Ann Tompkins, 65, of Roseville; Sherita Ware, 38, of Detroit; and Carla Williams, 44, of Pontiac.

“Vulnerable adults across Michigan depend on Medicaid personal care services, but scammers who abuse the program threaten its integrity,” Schuette said in a statement. “The message is clear: we will not tolerate any form of health care fraud at the expense of patients and taxpayers.”

Many of the cases were first identified as potentially fraudulent by the Department of Community Health, Office of Health Services Inspector General.

The Medicaid-funded Home Help Services Program supports individuals unable to care for themselves adequately at home and reduces Medicaid expenditures by avoiding more expensive institutional care, including nursing home care. The program pays workers to assist Medicaid beneficiaries with general household activities and personal care. Beneficiaries may either select their own worker (often a family member or friend) or request one through the Medicaid program.

Given the staggering amount of money spent on these programs, identifying fraud in home help services programs is critical. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Medicaid costs for home care services nationwide in 2011 totaled $12.7 billion, a thirty five percent increase since 2005. In Michigan, the total costs for Medicaid-funded home help services totaled over $292 million in 2011. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that the employment of personal assistants and home health care workers will grow by 46 percent by 2018.

Schuette filed the following charges against the defendants in the 54B District Court:

  • Ollie Brent, 59, of Pontiac ($849):

One count of Medicaid Fraud – Concealing or failing to disclose a material fact in order to obtain a Medicaid benefit; a felony punishable by 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

  • Marilyn Davis, 45, of Harper Woods ($3,229):

One count of Medicaid Fraud – Concealing or failing to disclose a material fact in order to obtain a Medicaid benefit; a felony punishable by 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

  • Janet Dixon, 59, of Grosse Pointe Woods ($3,800):

One count of Medicaid Fraud – Concealing or failing to disclose a material fact in order to obtain a Medicaid benefit; a felony punishable by 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

  • Anna Goree, 35, of Detroit ($28,141):

One count of Medicaid Fraud – Concealing or failing to disclose a material fact in order to obtain a Medicaid benefit; a felony punishable by 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

  • Theresa Hines, 40, of Marcellus ($3,257):

One count of Medicaid Fraud – Concealing or failing to disclose a material fact in order to obtain a Medicaid benefit; a felony punishable by 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

  • Kristina Jurek, 44, of Macomb ($4,101):

One count of Medicaid Fraud – Concealing or failing to disclose a material fact in order to obtain a Medicaid benefit; a felony punishable by 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

  • Selandra Jo Mitchell, 46, of Detroit ($3,306):

One count of Medicaid Fraud – Concealing or failing to disclose a material fact in order to obtain a Medicaid benefit; a felony punishable by 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

  • Marilyn Oakes, 57, of Muskegon ($5,198):

One count of Medicaid Fraud – Concealing or failing to disclose a material fact in order to obtain a Medicaid benefit; a felony punishable by 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

  • Patricia Ann Tompkins, 65, of Roseville ($3,449):

One count of Medicaid Fraud – Concealing or failing to disclose a material fact in order to obtain a Medicaid benefit; a felony punishable by 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

  • Sherita Ware, 38, of Detroit ($4,030):

One count of Medicaid Fraud – Concealing or failing to disclose a material fact in order to obtain a Medicaid benefit; a felony punishable by 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

  • Carla Williams, 44, of Pontiac ($1,129):

One count of Medicaid Fraud – Concealing or failing to disclose a material fact in order to obtain a Medicaid benefit; a felony punishable by 4-years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

To date, Davis, Dixon, Hines, Jurek, Mitchell, Oakes, Tompkins and Ware have been arraigned on the charges. They are next due in court for a pre-exam conference on January 14 and a preliminary exam on January 17. Arrangements are being made for Brent, Goree and Wiliams to surrender the proper authorities.

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