Jury hands down $3.3 million verdict against CO nursing home in negligence case

The owners of companies that provided psychological services to nursing home residents were convicted on Wednesday for their role in a scheme that authorities say bilked millions of dollars from the Medicare program.

Rodney Hesson, 47, and his mother, Gertrude Parker, 63, owned a total of eight companies that contracted with nursing homes in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana to provide psychological services to residents. A “significant” number of the claims the duo submitted to Medicare were fraudulent. This included seeking payment for psychological testing that residents did not need or, in some cases, did not receive, authorities said.

Some tests were given repeatedly to residents who were incapacitated, and could not meaningfully participate in psychological testing.

Hesson and Parker billed more than $25 million to Medicare over the course of six years, of which $13.5 million ended up in their coffers.

They were each convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to make false statements related to healthcare matters. The jury’s verdict also included a judgment of nearly $9 million, forfeiture of Hesson’s home and nearly $530,000 in seized currency. Their sentencing has been set for May 4.

Two psychologists employed by the companies pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud in September 2016, admitting that they were responsible for $5.6 million of the fraudulent claims.