Ketchikan midwife pleads guilty to Medicaid fraud

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The Associated PressMay 28, 2012 

KETCHIKAN -- A midwife and nurse practitioner who continued to write prescriptions and bill Medicaid after her license was suspended has accepted a plea deal in which she will spend a year in prison.

Eileen Small of Ketchikan pleaded guilty to medical assistance fraud and controlled-substance misconduct, according to Alaska's Office of Special Prosecutions. Besides the prison term, she agreed Friday to spend five years on probation, perform 80 hours of community work service and pay more than $10,000 restitution to Medicaid.

The felony charges stemmed from a 2010 investigation by the Alaska Medicaid Fraud control unit, the Ketchikan Daily News reported.

A Ketchikan grand jury indicted Small and her ex-husband Herbert in February.

Herbert Small, who kept the books at his wife's clinic, also pleaded guilty to medical assistance fraud. He has agreed to serve three years on probation and pay restitution to Medicaid.

Eileen Small had been licensed by the state as an advanced nurse practitioner, and she practiced as a nurse midwife at her clinic, A Woman's Place.

Small's advanced nurse practitioner license was suspended in July 2009, but she kept practicing, according to the Office of Special Prosecutions. She had been enrolled as a Medicaid provider and continued to bill Medicaid for services to recipients after the suspension.

Police executed search warrants on her home and office in January 2010 in connection with the investigation.

Between August and December 2009, the clinic billed Medicaid for the visits of more than two dozen patients, investigators said. The clinic also billed more than 100 other people or agencies after her license was suspended.

Investigators said Small also wrote hundreds of prescriptions for patients while failing to tell them about the suspension.

Ketchikan Superior Court Judge William Carey will formally sentence Small and her ex-husband on Sept. 21.

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