New York City Dept. of ED Sued For False Medicaid Claims

JusticeThe US Department of Justice has joined a whistleblower lawsuit filed in 2007 by social worker Dana Ohlmeyer against the New York City Department of Education. The lawsuit claims that between 2001 and 2004, NYCDE billed Medicaid for psychological counseling services for special needs students, counseling those students never received. The federal government is suing for $2 million in damages, penalties and costs.

The complaint states that NYCDE receives a flat $223 per month per special need student receiving at least 2 hours of counseling services during that month. If the student receives less than 2 hours of services, NYCDE receives nothing. The complaint alleges that NYCDE received $693,418 from Medicaid, an amount it was not entitled to because it did not provide the requisite amount of counseling needed to qualify for those funds.

Social worker, Dana Ohlmeyer, an employee of NYCDE since 1992, filed the original complaint. As a whistleblower, Ms. Ohlmeyer stands to receive a portion of the recovery should the government succeed in the lawsuit. NYCDE is prohibited from retaliating against Ms. Ohlmeyer if she is still employed there. Whistleblowers receive special protection under federal law in return for coming forward to reveal fraud perpetrated against the federal government. Whistleblowing legislation is designed to help the federal government pursue fraud by empowering knowledgeable employees to step up and reveal what they know when they see their employer committing fraud against the government.

The case is cited as: U.S. ex rel Ohlmeyer v. New York City Department of Education, No. 07-1517 (E.D.N.Y. Oct. 12, 2012).

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