We spend a lot of time talking about the federal False Claims Act and for good reason; it is an important tool for fighting frauds that steal taxpayer money and leave some of our nation’s most vulnerable and worthy individuals unable to get the services they need or even directly endangered by the fraud. It is important to remember, however, that there are also powerful state laws that cover similar cases of fraud on state government. As a recent case shows, these laws not only allow for the potential return of money to already-underfunded state programs, but they can also prove powerful incentives for change.
Minnesota Group Accused of Fraud in Mental Health Arena
Earlier this month, The Star Tribune wrote about allegations of fraud in the provision of mental health services filed at both the state and federal level. According to the report, Complementary Support Services (“CSS”), a nonprofit organization based in Richfield, Minnesota, stands accused of improperly billing government assistance programs for mental health services. Specifically, the pending lawsuit alleges CSS billed for services provided to hundreds of patients without the supervision by a licensed mental health professional that the programs require. Additionally, the suit accuses the organization of padding bills by including time spent on paperwork, a practice prohibited under state law. Prosecutors further allege that CSS’s president, herself a licensed social worker, “batch signed” large numbers of documents and directed the practice be continued while she was out on leave, rather than giving the files the personal review required by law. The suit also accuses the company of encouraging fraudulent practices tying employees commissions to regional billings.