Goodwin

CHARLESTON – U.S. Attorney R. Booth Goodwin II announced a settlement March 23 between the United States, West Virginia and Putnam County Aging Program Inc. that provides for the recovery of more than $1.35 million for the West Virginia Medicaid program.

Putnam Aging is a not-for-profit corporation that offers in-home care services to the elderly and disabled, among other things.

From July 2006 until April 2010, Putnam Aging contracted with Golden Heart In Home Care Services, which is owned and operated by Shida Jamie, to provide services to individuals insured by the West Virginia Medicaid program.

Under the contract, Golden Heart and Jamie agreed to provide qualified homemakers who were adequately training and screened for prior criminal records. Golden Heart hired unqualified homemakers and allowed them to provide in-home care services without providing minimum mandatory training.

Some of the homemakers also had criminal convictions that prohibited them from providing in-home care services under the Medicaid program. Putnam Aging submitted claims to and received payments from Medicaid for the services rendered by the Golden Heart homemakers.

Putnam Aging retained 15 percent of the Medicaid payments and paid Golden Heart the remaining share. Medicaid paid Putnam Aging a total of $3.5 million for the services rendered by Golden Heart.

Putnam Aging paid Golden Heart the lion's share of the Medicaid money, a total of $3,001,240 and retained $529,630.

"This settlement goes a long way toward restoring funds desperately needed to provide care to our most vulnerable citizens," Goodwin said. "Though Putnam Aging was not directly responsible for the employment of unqualified homemakers and convicted felons, as a Medicaid provider that partnered with others to provide care services, Putnam Aging is, nonetheless, liable for the failure to ensure the quality of those services. Through this Agreement, Putnam Aging has committed to righting this wrong financially, and to cooperating fully in our ongoing investigation."

The agreement between the United States, West Virginia and Putnam Aging represents nearly three times the amount that Putnam Aging actually received under the contract with Golden Heart and resolves the civil liability of Putnam Aging for its role in the submission of claims for services provided by Golden Heart.

As part of the agreement, Putnam Aging will continue to cooperate fully and truthfully with the United States in its ongoing investigation of Golden Heart and Jamie.

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