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


March 26, 2002 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

ALLEGANY NURSE PLEADS GUILTY TO MEDICAID FRAUD

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that a Mount Savage registered nurse pled guilty to charges of making false statements to her employer that caused the improper payment of over $126,000 by Medicaid for private duty nursing services that were not provided.

Regina Waites, 44, of Calla Hill Road N.W. entered a guilty plea before the Honorable Gary G. Leasure in Allegany County Circuit Court to one count of Medicaid Health Plan fraud.

Waites worked for Tri-State Home Health and Equipment, Inc., a nursing agency that contracted with the Maryland Medicaid program to provide in-home nursing services to eligible children requiring skilled care. Waites was supposed to provide nursing care for up to 12 hours per day to a child who suffered from an illness that, among other symptoms, caused her to stop breathing suddenly and without warning. Over a multi-year period, Waites filled out time sheets as if she worked each day for the full shift. She also completed nursing notes that contained observations concerning the child’s health for those hours. She then submitted those documents to Tri-State, which billed Medicaid for the services that Waites had purportedly provided.

However, an investigation by the Office of the Attorney General revealed that Waites was employed at a hospital, a nursing home and at Western Correctional Institution during many hours she represented that she was providing care to the child. An examination of the time sheets from her various jobs uncovered hundreds of hours of overlap between the hours billed for those jobs and the hours she billed to Tri-State. Evidence developed by the State proved that during those periods of overlap, Waites was working at the other jobs, and not for Tri-State as she claimed. Additionally, a review of her time sheets indicated that she was routinely claiming to work continuously for stretches of 48 to 116 hours in a row without a break. During one seven day period in March of 2000, Waites submitted time sheets to her various employers representing that she worked 144 out of a possible 168 hours.

"Ms. Waites simply billed Medicaid for hours she didn’t work," Attorney General Curran said. "Instead, she was getting paid to work for someone else, while collecting a check from other employers at the same time."

This case was prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office. No date has yet been set for sentencing.

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