Class action suit filed against billing service

Posted Oct. 25, 2010, at 9:38 p.m.

The Portland law firm Preti Flaherty has announced the filing of a class action lawsuit against Possibilities Counseling Services of Auburn and its president and CEO, Wendy Bergeron, for allegedly failing to process and pay professional fees to approximately 550 social workers and other providers of mental health services.

Before closing its doors at the beginning of October, Possibilities Counseling supplied billing and other support services to social workers and mental health service providers throughout the state. Many of the thousands of individual clients served were covered by MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program for low-income and disabled residents.

The company came under state scrutiny in mid-August when a surprise inspection by state regulators found the offices functioning with a makeshift staff of untrained family and friends and client documentation lying around unprotected, a violation of state and federal privacy regulations.

Providers claim the company closed without making good on many thousands of dollars of claims. Many have complained that they have been unable to contact Bergeron to get answers about their unpaid claims.

A class action is a way for a large group to recover relatively small claims in one case.

“We filed this case on behalf of all the people who have not been paid by Possibilities Counseling Services,” said Preti Flaherty attorney Greg Hansel in a statement issued late Monday afternoon. “We are pursuing this case in the interest of all the providers who have been hurt by the actions of Possibilities.”

Efforts on Monday to reach Bergeron at the Possibilities offices were not successful.

Many providers have sought support from the state in resolving losses related to operations at Possibilities. Last week, Commissioner Brenda Harvey of the state Department of Health and Human Services announced an open forum aimed at answering providers’ questions. The forum will take place from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, in the Jewett Hall auditorium at the University of Maine at Augusta.

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