Everyone needs a break at some point, especially primary caregivers of people who cannot care for themselves. This duty often falls on the shoulders of family members, who can become exhausted by their efforts. When some periodic relief is needed, a home health care company that provides respite care can be hired to provide temporary care for a loved one. An article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch tells about the owner of a Suffolk-based respite care business who took advantage of Medicaid recipients by billing for services her company never provided. (Home health care is often a target for fraud.)

The story states that the owner of the home health company filed approximately 385 false claims with the Virginia Medicaid program over a four-year period, representing services that were never rendered to 38 Medicaid beneficiaries. Medicaid paid her $294,713 for the false claims. (That averages $765 per claim.)

The 57-year-old woman pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud and was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison.

Caring for an ill relative can put an enormous amount of pressure on family members and other relatives who want to provide a caring environment for their ill loved one. Taking advantage of Medicaid recipients who deserve and have earned the right for respite care is a heinous crime. This fraudster scammed deserving beneficiaries so that she could line her pockets with money she didn’t work for nor deserve. In this case, however, the woman does deserve the prison sentence that she has received.

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