Arkansas AG: Another ex-worker at healthcare nonprofit charged in Medicaid fraud probe

Another former Preferred Family Healthcare employee has been charged in connection with an ongoing Medicaid fraud investigation, authorities said.

Helen Balding was charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud, the Arkansas attorney general’s office said in a news release.

Balding, 47, was Preferred Family’s former director of billing. She’s accused of making false statements to help Robin Raveendran improperly bill $2.2 million to Medicaid, the state and federally funded insurance program for children and low-income residents, authorities said.

Raveendran, a former Preferred Family Healthcare executive, was arrested June 28 and accused of improperly billing Medicaid without first billing other insurers as required.

Medicaid is considered the “payer of last resort,” meaning health care providers are supposed to first bill other insurance options, according to an affidavit supporting his arrest. Medicaid reimbursement rates in Arkansas are higher than other options, specifically Medicare.

The state Department of Human Services discontinued Medicaid reimbursement to Preferred Family Healthcare following Raveendran’s arrest.

Four former state lawmakers, lobbyist Rusty Cranford and others have pleaded guilty to or have been convicted of bribery, fraud and embezzlement charges springing from an ongoing federal corruption investigation. Other lawmakers and former company executives have been implicated in the probe but not charged.

Read Wednesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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