State Sues Mental Health Services Provider

LOWELL — The Attorney General’s Office recently filed a lawsuit against South Bay Mental Health Center, Inc., Attorney General Maura Healey said in a Tuesday press release issued by her office.

The AG’s Office asserts that SBMHC fraudulently billed MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program, “for mental health care services provided to patients by unlicensed, unqualified, and unsupervised staff members at clinics across the state.”

SBMHC has a number of mental health facilities across the commonwealth, including in Lowell and Leominster. According to its website, SBMHC provides behavioral health care, substance abuse counseling, autism services, early childhood services and more.

In Lowell, there are day services, a mental health clinic and early childhood services, located on Canal Drive and Warren St. In Leominster, there is a mental health clinic, located on Erdman Way.

“This company provided substandard care to many vulnerable patients and fraudulently billed the state for its inadequate services,” Healey stated in the release. “MassHealth members deserve competent treatment from qualified individuals, and our office will continue to take action in order to remove these significant barriers to accessing critical mental health care in our state.”

The AG’s Office began looking into SBMHC in 2015 after a former employee filed a whistleblower lawsuit. The release states that all of the 17 clinics named in the complaint lacked consistency in “licensing and supervision of therapists during the relevant time period.”

The complaint was filed against Peter Scanlon, founder and owner of the company until April 2012, and co-founder Kevin Sheehan. H.I.G. Growth Partners, LLC and H.I.G. Capital, LLC were also named in the complaint.

A representative from SBMHC was not immediately available for comment.

Since August 2009, SMBHC was paid more than $123 million for outpatient services from MassHealth and its contracted managed care entities.

More than 30,000 MassHealth members are estimated to have been affected by fraudulent claims for services, according to the AG’s Office.

The AG’s Office is seeking “treble damages, civil penalties, and prejudgment interest” through this lawsuit.

Follow Kori Tuitt on Twitter @KoriTuitt.

Source Article