Anchorage health business loses billing privileges

ANCHORAGE — An Anchorage home-health business has been stripped of its billing privileges as some of its caregivers are suspected of Medicaid fraud.

Thirty-nine caregivers with Good Faith Services are charged with counts including medical assistance fraud, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

John Skidmore, director of the criminal division with the state Department of law, said 10 people have been convicted and sentenced, 23 are still going through the court system and six have not yet appeared before a judge.

When the investigation was first announced in July, the case involved 29 individuals. At the time the state said the Alaska Medicaid program paid out more than $362,000 in fraudulent billings. According to prosecutors, caregivers billed the state for work they never did in some cases.

One caregiver is charged with fraudulently billing Medicaid $94,339 over 29 months. An investigation showed the individual worked for seven different companies at the same time, state officials said.

Good Faith Services has not been charged. Neither has its owners or managers, according to attorney Chester Gilmore, who represents the business.

Gilmore said the caregivers being prosecuted represent only a small fraction of “hundreds” working for his client. Also, if caregivers work for more than one company at a time, it would be very difficult for his client to police.

Gilmore said the Monday suspension of billing privileges is being aggressively appealed and he hopes for a swift resolution. He called the suspension bewildering, and said the state has issued a blanket authority in the matter.

Under rules of the Alaska Department Of Health and Social Services, Medicaid billing is required to be suspended if a business has a credible allegation of fraud against it and is being investigated for Medicaid fraud.

“(The state) felt it was important enough, and enough employees implicated, that they needed to put a halt” to the billing privileges, according to Cori Mills, a Department of Law spokeswoman.

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