The state is suing an East Hartford-based clinical social worker, contending that she and her behavioral health company billed the state about $1.84 million for psychotherapy services that were never provided.
Selina Christian and the Center of Attention LLC “engaged in a systematic and persistent pattern of submitting claims for payment through the Connecticut Medical Assistance Program” for nonexistent services, according to Attorney General George Jepsen and Roderick L. Bremby, commissioner of the state Department of Social Services.
From January 2013 through at least December 2017, Christian and the Center of Attention routinely billed DSS for 38- to 52-minute individual psychotherapy sessions that were not provided, state officials said. Also, Christian submitted claims for services that were not reimbursable through CMAP, such as transportation, tutoring and activities such as “Pajama Jam,” a group activity in which children would play games, watch movies and eat pizza, officials said.
The state also claims that Christian, the company’s founder and CEO, kept improper records and tried to falsify records after receiving a state subpoena. The lawsuit seeks civil penalties and treble damages for the violations.
Christian could not be reached immediately for comment. The company, whose full name is the Center of Attention LLC: No One Left Behind, provides behavioral health services, including mental health, substance abuse and rehabilitation programs for all ages, according to its website — www.coallc.net.
Jepsen and Bremby thanked the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney for help with the investigation, which began with a referral from the DSS Office of Quality Assurance’s Special Investigations Unit.
The suit is part of a larger effort by the state’s Interagency Fraud Task Force, created in 2013, “to wage a coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute healthcare fraud directed at state healthcare and human service programs,” the release said. For more information, visit www.fightfraud.ct.gov.
Anyone with knowledge of suspected fraud or abuse in the public healthcare system is asked to contact the Attorney General’s Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Department at 860-808-5040, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; the MFCU at 860-258-5986, or by email at email@example.com; or the Department of Social Services fraud reporting hotline at 1-800-842-2155, online at www.ct.gov/dss/reportingfraud, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“In this case, we believe our investigation has uncovered a deliberate and sustained scheme to defraud Connecticut’s Medicaid program by falsely billing for services that were never even provided to patients,” Jepsen said.
“False claims are an affront to the Medicaid program and the taxpayers who fund it,” Bremby said. “While this case does not represent our dedicated and responsible Medicaid providers overall, it is important to highlight as an example of why strong anti-fraud enforcement is necessary.”