Pharmacy owner faces Medicaid fraud charges

The Associated Press
Posted Nov. 29, 2002, at 12 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A state legislator who owns a pharmacy in Oakland is being charged with cheating Maine’s Medicaid program out of $3.6 million through reimbursement fraud over a five-year period.

Rep. Robert Nutting denied the charges and said he wants a hearing to clear his name. Nutting, a Republican, said the allegations stem from disagreements over record-keeping and rules for Medicaid billing.

Legal documents allege that True’s Pharmacy, which Nutting owns, has no record of providing many of the services or goods for which it sought Medicaid reimbursement. In instances where records exist, True’s allegedly overbilled Medicaid for services or goods, the documents say.

Nutting’s pharmacy provides health care products and services to hundreds of Medicaid recipients, including more than 60 nursing homes and boarding homes across the state.

An audit of True’s records uncovered the alleged discrepancies last fall, and the allegations came to light after Nutting notified his pharmacy’s customers that True’s will stop participating in the Medicaid program as of Dec. 25.

A spokesman for the state Department of Human Services said Nutting will be prosecuted for the charges.

“Frankly, it would be irresponsible of us not to make the effort to recoup this money,” DHS spokesman Newell Augur said. “We cannot simply close our eyes and pretend that this situation doesn’t exist and is going to go away.”

DHS has scheduled a formal review of the case for Dec. 10 in Augusta. Nutting said True’s might be out of business before then because DHS has begun withholding half of Medicaid reimbursements from the pharmacy in an attempt to recoup some of the alleged losses.

U.S. District Judge George Z. Singal rejected Nutting’s request to delay the 50 percent withholding of Medicaid reimbursements until the case is heard.

“I know that I’ve done nothing wrong, and I know in my heart that my employees did nothing wrong,” said Nutting.

The 55-year-old, two-term lawmaker served on the Health and Human Services Committee during the session that ends next week.

http://bangordailynews.com/2002/11/29/news/pharmacy-owner-faces-medicaid-fraud-charges/ printed on September 22, 2014