psychologist indicted for $1.2 million health care fraud
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a psychologist practicing in the Lebanon, Mo., area has been indicted by a federal grand jury for engaging in a $1.2 million scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid.
Rhett E. McCarty, 67, of Lake Ozark, Mo., was charged in a two-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday, May 23, 2012. The indictment was unsealed and made public today upon McCarty’s arrest and initial court appearance in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo.
McCarty is a licensed psychologist and private practitioner who provided psychotherapy services to recipients of both Medicare and Medicaid in their homes in the Lebanon area. The federal indictment alleges that since Aug. 22, 2008, McCarty has submitted Medicare and Medicaid claims for at least 19 beneficiaries for which he was paid $1,276,334.
According to claims that McCarty submitted, the indictment says, he routinely saw beneficiaries seven days per week and worked long hours every day. McCarty allegedly claimed that he worked every single day of the calendar year from mid-September 2008 through early April 2012, except for Christmas. McCarty routinely billed for every weekend day and for all holidays except Christmas, the indictment says. However, according to the indictment, beneficiaries who were interviewed during the course of the investigation told investigators that McCarty did not see them for therapy more than once a week and often much less often. In one case, the indictment alleges that McCarty received $101,712 in payments for a patient he only saw one time.
The federal indictment also charges McCarty with forgery. According to the indictment, McCarty forged (or caused another person to forge) the signatures of beneficiaries on patient sign-in sheets in order to obtain $418,507 in Medicare and Medicaid payments.
Today’s indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require McCarty to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offenses, including $1,276,334.
Ketchmark cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lucinda S. Woolery. It was investigated by the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the FBI and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.