An Illinois woman pled guilty last week to charges that she perpetrated a healthcare fraud scheme designed to keep patients out of nursing homes.
Betsy Gutowski, 45, of Eldorado, IL, admitted that she submitted false and fraudulent bills to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for personal assistant services under its Home Services Program, authorities said. That program is meant to let patients stay in their place of residence, rather than in a hospital or nursing home, the Department of Justice noted in its announcement of the charges.
But Gutowski said that for more than a year, she went into a nursing home or hospital to deliver the personal assistant services, the DOJ noted. All told, she improperly billed for 349.5 hours of work and obtained more than $4,000 in payment for services not performed.
Her illegal activity was uncovered as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “Operation Home Alone” initiative. Following her guilty plea, Gutowski remains in custody pending sentencing in November. She faces a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.