A Stratford, Connecticut internist pleaded guilty November 3, 2022 in Hartford federal court to health care fraud and kickback offenses.
Dr. Ananthakumar Thillainathan, 44, a citizen of Sri Lanka and owner and president of MDCareNow LLC, a medical practice with offices in Stratford and Milford, submitted to Connecticut Medicaid over $800,000 in fraudulent claims for psychotherapy services that he knew patients did not receive.
Thillainathan submitted fraudulent claims to Medicaid that falsely represented his employees had rendered 60-minute psychotherapy sessions when, in fact, his employees only had very brief conversations with patients, had only left a voicemail for patients, or had no contact with patients at all.
This news shows that mental health care fraud is being perpetrated not only by psychiatrists but also by non-psychiatric medical doctors engaged in mental health care.
The fact is, mental health care fraud in the U.S. is estimated to be up to $20 billion per year. There should be no place for criminal intent or deed in the field of mental health.
There are as many types of mental health insurance fraud as the criminal mind can invent. For example, a U.S. congressional committee issued a report estimating that Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) had diverted between $40 million to $100 million to improper uses. Various CMHCs had built tennis courts and swimming pools with their federal construction grants and, in one instance, used a federal staff grant to hire a lifeguard and swimming instructor. [Reference: Rael Isaac and Virginia Armat, Madness in the Streets, (The Free Press, New York, 1990), p. 98.]
The primary purpose of mental health treatment must be the therapeutic care and treatment of individuals who are suffering emotional disturbance. It must never be the financial or personal gain of the practitioner. Those suffering are inevitably vulnerable and impressionable. Proper treatment therefore demands the highest level of trustworthiness and integrity in the practitioner.
Experience has shown that there are many criminal mental health practitioners. If you become aware of such, file a report about this fraud here: https://www.cchr.org/take-action/report-psychiatric-abuse.html.