Serena Joslin was arrested in May in connection to a massive Medicare and Medicaid fraud scheme that included bogus therapy delivered at a Hendersonville clinic.

By Rose Hoban

An Asheville woman pled guilty this week to charges related to her involvement with a scheme to defraud the government out of tens of millions of dollars that included bogus mental health treatment at a clinic in Hendersonville.

Serena Joslin in her booking photo, May 2, 2012. Photo courtesy Buncombe County, Office of the Sheriff
Serena Joslin in her booking photo, May 2, 2012. Photo courtesy Buncombe County, Office of the Sheriff

Serena Joslin, 31, was the clinical coordinator for Health Care Solutions Network, licensed by North Carolina as a mental health treatment facility. In May, federal law enforcement officials arrested Joslin and eight others, including plot architect Armando “Manny” Gonzales. The group was charged with fraudulently billing Medicare and Medicaid for $3.34 million between April 2010 and November 2011 for treatment at the clinic that was never delivered.

Gonzales is also accused of running a series of clinics in Florida where he defrauded the federal government out of up to $60 million more over a seven year period.

Joslin, a licensed psychological associate, pled guilty in US District Court in Miami to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In her plea deal Joslin also agreed to provide testimony and evidence against others involved in the plot.

According to court documents, the staff at the Health Care Solutions Network were supposed to be providing partial hospitalization, a form of intensive outpatient treatment for people with severe mental illness that includes individual and group therapy with counselors, medications and therapeutic activities.

Instead, staff at the facility recruited patients with memory problems, like Alzheimer’s disease, who were inappropriate for partial hospitalization.

Once at the clinic, staff sat patients in front of televisions for hours at a time, where they “would watch commercial movies with no therapeutic value, and for therapy that was never provided,” according to Joslin’s plea documents.

She also admitted to fabricating notes for the patients’ medical records showing they had participated in treatment sessions.

Joslin faces a maximum of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. She also loses the ability to bill public programs for work she does in the future. Joslin will be sentenced in January, 2013.

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Rose Hoban is the founder and editor of NC Health News, as well as being the state government reporter. Hoban has been a registered nurse since 1992, but transitioned to journalism after earning degrees...