State fines private mental health facilities$2.7 million for fraud

January 5, 2014

TRENTON — The Office of the State Comptroller today slapped a $2.7 million fine against the owner of three mental health care facilities, charging him with submitting fraudulent bills and seeking to bar him from the Medicaid program for five years.

The state has accused Howard Lundy, the owner of Guiding Light Behavioral Health Inc. and Guiding Light Drug and Alcohol Treatment Service, both in Neptune, and Brighter Day Behavioral Health Inc., Lawrenceville, of submitting more than 2,859 false claims from September 2009 to March 2012.

Comptroller Matthew Boxer said Lundy billed Medicaid for hundreds of patients in which no documentation could be found to verify the date of their care. In other cases, the patients had been treated by another facilities. Twice, one facility billed for health care and transportation services on days the centers were closed.

"The integrity of the Medicaid program is dependent on health care providers acting in an ethical manner," Boxer said. "In this case, the overbillings that we allege occurred, along with the effort to cover up those overbillings, were particularly brazen."

Robert Bonney Jr. of Freehold, Lundy's attorney, released a statement late today that says state investigators had yet to provide "any specifics concerning the allegations."

"Brighter Day and Guiding Light have been cooperating with the State Controller’s investigation for almost 2 years," and will address the issues "in due course," Bonney's statement said.

"Guiding Light Behavioral Health and Brighter Day Behavioral Health have been providing treatment to over 230 patients for more than 18 years," according to Bonney's statement. "It is significant that none of the State’s allegations concern patient care in any way."

The facilities are operated by Lundy and his wife, Gwendolyn, according to Boxer's announcement.

Lundy may challenge the findings and request a hearing with the state Medicaid office, with an administrative law judge, or both, according to Boxer's announcement. An appeal can be filed by Jan. 27, according to Boxer.

Source: Susan K. Livio, "N.J. Comptroller fines private mental health facilities $2.7 million, alleging Medicaid fraud," The Star-Ledger, January 2, 2014.


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