Local doctor faces fraud charges

Investigators say Paul Means billed the state for treatment he never provided and hours he never spent with patients.

SPOKANE, Wash. – A Spokane medical provider is accused of stealing millions of dollars from public Medicaid funds.

Investigators say Paul Means billed the state for treatment he never provided and hours he never spent with patients.

Means has been under investigation for years. A Medicaid fraud agent with the state attorney general’s office just received another search warrant to gather more digital evidence. Investigators say Means changed patient notes so he could charge more, and those charges don’t add up.

In a 24-hour period, Means logged 70 hours and the state paid for it.

Court documents portray Paul Means as someone who cared more about profits than patients.

His company, Spokane-based Abilia Healthcare, was flagged in 2019 when an audit showed an unusually high number of drug claims for in-person exams.

Investigators allege that Means and the nurse practitioners who worked for him treated people with addictions and mental health. In less than three years, Means billed the state more than $1.2 million, making his small business the largest statewide biller in that category and a obvious outlier.

According to court documents, an advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) working for Abilia Healthcare emailed Means in 2019 saying she was concerned her grades did not match what she had documented.

“It seems like almost every note I’ve completed since the beginning has at least one section of inaccuracy. Was it computer errors or an error on the part of the back office staff? “, we read in the e-mail.

For example, the entire Wenatchee Valley hospital system billed the state $162,000 for the same services.

Abilia Healthcare was examined under a microscope. Another audit looked at more than 6,000 Medicaid claims and found that 97% of them were in error.

Court documents highlight outrageous examples. In one case, Means logged 70 hours of treatment over a 24-hour period.

Investigators began following his car. One day he went to Home Depot and billed the state for 41 hours of medical treatment.

While vacationing in Taiwan, investigators say Means worked 887 hours. He won nearly $45,000.

Between 2013 and 2020, the state paid his company $5 million.

Investigators say Means used her business account to pay off credit cards, buy several luxury vehicles and two homes on the South Hill just doors apart. We were unable to reach Paul Means for comment.

Paul Means is charged with first-degree larceny, organized crime and Medicaid misrepresentation. His business closed in 2020 after investigators served their first search warrant.

Means was not arrested. The investigation is still ongoing.

Investigators say Means paid people in the Philippines between $3 and $4 an hour to help him prepare and file these bogus Medicaid applications. The state is investigating whether other nurses who worked for him knew what was going on.

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