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Former psychologist ordered to repay $300K, will lose license

Greg Zoeller

Medea Woods pleaded guilty to felony Medicaid fraud, theft, and sentenced

INDIANAPOLIS – A former psychologist who practiced in Madison, Ind., and admitted to fraudulently billing the Medicaid program for patient therapy she never provided was sentenced to 7 ½ years of probation and ordered to repay $300,000, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced today.

Medea Woods, 70, pleaded guilty Friday in Jefferson County Circuit Court to charges of Medicaid fraud, a class C felony, and theft, a class D felony. In addition to being sentenced to probation and restitution, Woods agreed to revocation of her Indiana license to practice psychology.

“This defendant engaged in a scheme for approximately five years to defraud the Medicaid program for personal gain by submitting claims for services she never rendered, causing a needless misallocation of tax dollars. Felony convictions and ultimately the loss of her professional license to practice are the unfortunate consequences that result from this conduct,” Zoeller said.

From 2002 to 2007, Woods was a Medicaid provider who offered psychologist services from Burnham Woods Counseling North, Inc., in Madison, Ind., and from her home in Rising Sun, Ind. An investigation by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) found that Woods billed Medicaid for multiple therapy sessions involving the same patients taking place on a single day or during a single week – more frequently than the patients reported receiving services. Woods also billed for “therapy” that involved patients riding horses or cleaning stables that don’t qualify as Medicaid-reimbursable psychotherapy, the investigation found.

Woods was criminally charged in February 2011 under a special provision of state law that allows the Attorney General to directly file criminal charges of Medicaid fraud. She reached a plea agreement and was sentenced Friday by Special Judge James Morris of Ripley County. Woods agreed to revocation of her expired license by the Board of Psychology that will be heard at an upcoming board meeting, and she agreed to not to seek a new license during her 7 ½-year sentence. Supervision of her probation will be transferred to Wyoming where she now resides if that state agrees.

The case involved a joint investigation by the Indiana Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). Zoeller complimented the work of investigators whose meticulous comparisons of Woods’ submitted claims to actual patient services documented the extent of the fraud and resulted in a successful criminal prosecution of Woods.

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