Fla. Physical Therapist Charged with Medicaid Fraud

October 13, 2004

Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist announced the arrest of an Orlando physical therapist charged with six counts of Medicaid fraud and one count of organized fraud for wrongful billings of Florida’s Medicaid program.

An investigation by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit reportedly determined that Jennifer Jill Newcomb, employed by Children First Home Health Care Service, fraudulently billed the Medicaid program for physical therapy service hours that were not actually rendered. Between June and November 2003, Newcomb allegedly submitted 44 claims for 41.25 hours of undelivered physical therapy, costing the State of Florida $1,777.

Investigators reportedly found that Newcomb scheduled appointments with physical therapy recipients, failed to keep the appointments and then submitted false claims to the Medicaid program for services not rendered.

According to authorities, in one instance, Newcomb submitted a bill for physical therapy service hours with a one-year-old child who in fact was hospitalized and undergoing chemotherapy during the time she claimed. In another instance, Newcomb billed Medicaid for services she claims to have provided when in fact the 17-year-old patient and her family were on a cruise funded by the “Make a Wish” foundation.

Newcomb also allegedly submitted multiple documents that contained forged signatures of the recipients’ parents and guardians. Later interviews with the recipients’ guardians revealed that the signatures on the submitted documents were not theirs.

The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in Orlando arrested Newcomb this week. She was transported to the Orange County Jail in lieu of a $5,000 bond. The case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.

If convicted of the third-degree felony charges, Newcomb faces five years maximum imprisonment and $5,000 in fines for each charge.

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