NEWS RELEASE
Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.


November 21, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

BALTIMORE NURSE SENTENCED TO JAIL FOR MEDICAID FRAUD

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that Mattie Kirkland, 62, of Baltimore, was sentenced to one year in jail, with all but 60 days suspended and placed on two yearsí supervised probation for committing Medicaid fraud. Kirkland pled guilty on July 18, 2001, to submitting false time sheets and nursing notes for payment by Medicaid. Baltimore County District Court Nancy Cohen issued the sentence.

Kirkland, a licensed practical nurse, was hired by Absolute Nursing Care to provide home health services to a 14- year-old mentally retarded Medicaid recipient with cerebral palsy and other maladies. On three days in December, 1999 and five days in January, 2000, Kirkland submitted time slips to Absolute Nursing Care for shifts that she did not work. Her employer used the time sheets to bill the Maryland Medicaid program to obtain payment for Kirklandís services. In addition, Kirkland submitted false nursing notes for each shift. These nursing notes, which indicate activities performed by the teenager as well as treatment allegedly provided to him by Kirkland, were written by Kirkland to provide the false impression that the teenager had been in her care on those days. Further, one of Kirklandís duties was to escort the child to a special school each weekday. Kirklandís nursing notes for the days at issue reflect that the child attended school but the childís teacher recalls him being absent on those days and the school records show absences for the child on each of the dates in question.

Kirkland was paid for her time in December but her scheme was discovered before she received her pay for the January dates. At the time she committed this offense, Kirkland was on three years probation in federal court for her conviction for failing to file tax returns. As part of her federal sentence, she was required to perform 50 hours of community service. On the dates in December on which she billed Absolute Nursing Care, she was in fact performing the hours of community service mandated by her federal probation and having the State pay her for her time.

This case was prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of Marylandís Attorney Generalís Office.

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