Florida Woman Sentenced to Prison for Medicaid Fraud
Jennifer C. Alsdorf, of Tampa, Fla., was sentenced February 19, 2014, by Judge Amy Totenberg in United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to four months imprisonment, nine months house arrest, restitution in the amount of $200,000, a $5,000 fine and 150 hours community service. She had previously entered her guilty plea in October of 2013 to one count of Medicaid Fraud for filing fraudulent claims with the Georgia Medicaid program.
“Fighting Medicaid fraud is a top priority for my office,” said Attorney General Sam Olens. “This case sends a strong message that we take every complaint received seriously, and we will aggressively investigate and prosecute those who overbill Medicaid.”
Alsdorf was the owner, President, and CEO of Hand in Hand Speech & Language Services, Inc. The medical business was located in Tampa, Fla. (and prior to 2005 in Vidalia, Ga.) and offered speech-language therapy services for children covered by Medicaid. Acting on behalf of Hand in Hand, Alsdorf contracted with speech-language pathologists to perform the services under independent contractor agreements. Alsdorf would bill Medicaid for the services provided by the pathologists, and then send a portion of the amount she received from Medicaid to them.
In the contracts, Alsdorf agreed to pay a set fee to the speech pathologists for each initial evaluation and each subsequent therapy visit rendered by the speech pathologists to Medicaid recipients. The fees that Alsdorf paid to these contracted providers for those two services were based on the amounts that Medicaid reimbursed for the services.
After rendering services to patients, the providers would send Alsdorf treatment notes showing which patients they had seen, how long they had provided therapy and which services they had provided. Alsdorf was supposed to use these notes to prepare the claims to submit to Medicaid.
Unbeknownst to the speech-language pathologists, however, in addition to billing Medicaid for initial evaluations and therapy visits, Alsdorf also billed Medicaid for “sensory integration” therapy, a specialized service the providers had not provided. Many of the speech pathologists did not even know what sensory integration therapy was and had never heard of such a service. Alsdorf kept all of the money she received for sensory integration therapy.
Alsdorf also submitted claims to Medicaid for patient visits that never occurred. She submitted claims under speech pathologists’ names for services during times when they were not working with Hand in Hand. She also submitted claims representing that the providers had treated certain patients when, in fact, they had never seen or treated the patients at any time. Alsdorf submitted thousands of fraudulent claims to Medicaid.
Georgia Assistant Attorney General Henry A. Hibbert and Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen H. McClain and G. Jeffrey Viscomi, prosecuted the case. The case was investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Investigators from the Georgia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Georgia Department of Community Health.