BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - A Batesville woman originally accused of Medicaid fraud instead faces a charge of conspiracy to commit theft of property.
Police arrested Vickie Chisam in 2018 on suspicion of knowingly making false statements to the Arkansas Medicaid program.
On Monday, she reached a plea deal with Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office.
According to the plea and cooperation agreement, from May 2014 through November 2015, Chisam billed over 4,500 illegal claims to the Arkansas Medicaid program.
The action allowed nonprofit Preferred Family Healthcare Inc. to obtain over $589,000 from the program.
Chisam left Preferred Family Healthcare in November 2015, in part due to the stress related to her bosses asking her to violate Medicaid rules.
The agreement states that Chisam “was a relatively low paid employee under great pressure to bill as directed, even though she knew it was wrong”.
Preferred Family Healthcare bought Health Resources of Arkansas in May 2014 and, according to the agreement, looked for ways to increase revenue.
Chisam and the billing staff decided to bill a certain type of beneficiary straight to Medicaid, knowing that the action “is inconsistent with how billing had been done in the past and that it violated the rules in several ways”.
When they attempted to bill straight to Medicaid, they found that it couldn’t be done without first falsifying the data in the claims submitted.
The alleged scheme that Chisam is accused of involves multiple people and millions of dollars.
In June 2018, Robin Raveendran, the former Preferred Family Healthcare director of program integrity and director of operations, was arrested for scamming the Arkansas Medicaid program out of $2.2 million.
In Aug. 2018, police arrested Helen Balding, PFH’s former director of billing.
As for Chisam, she received a three-year suspended sentence that is conditioned on her cooperation with state and federal authorities.
She must also pay a $1,000 fine and other conditions that the court deems appropriate.
If Chisam breaches the agreement, her suspended sentence will be revoked.