SPOKANE, Wash. — A Spokane medical provider is accused of stealing millions of dollars in state Medicaid funds.
Investigators say Paul Means billed the state for treatment he never provided and for hours he never spent with patients.
Means has been under investigation for years. A Medicaid fraud agent with the state attorney general's office was just granted another search warrant to collect more digital evidence. Investigators say Means altered patient notes so he could charge more, and those charges did not add up.
In one 24-hour period, Means clocked in 70 hours and the state paid him.
Court documents paint Paul Means as a person who cared more about profits than patients.
His company, Spokane-based Abilia Healthcare, was flagged in 2019 when an audit showed an unusually high amount of medicaid claims for in-person examinations.
Investigators allege that Means and nurse practitioners that worked for him treated people for substance abuse and mental health. In the span of less than three years, Means billed the state more than $1.2 million, making his small company the highest statewide biller in that category and a clear outlier.
According to court documents, an advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) working for Abilia Healthcare emailed Means in 2019 saying she was concerned that her notes did not match what she documented.
“It appears that almost every note I’ve completed since starting has at least one section of inaccuracy. Are these computer errors, or an error on the part of the back office staff ?,” the email read.
For example, the entire Wenatchee Valley hospital system billed the state $162,000 for the same services.
Abilia Healthcare was put under a microscope. Another audit looked at more than 6,000 Medicaid claims and found 97% of them to be in error.
Court documents highlight outrageous examples. In one case, Means clocked 70 hours of treatment in a 24-hour time span.
Investigators started tracking his car. One day, he made a trip to Home Depot and billed the state for 41 hours of medical treatment.
While on vacation in Taiwan, investigators say Means logged 887 hours of work. He earned nearly $45,000.
Between 2013 and 2020, the state paid his company $5 million.
Investigators say Means used his company account to pay off credit cards, purchase several luxury vehicles and two homes on the South Hill a few doors down from each other. We were unable to reach Paul Means for comment.
Paul Means is accused of first-degree theft, leading organized crime and Medicaid false statement. His company shut down in 2020 after investigators served their first search warrant.
Means has not been arrested. The investigation is still ongoing.
Investigators say Means paid people in the Philippines $3 to $4 an hour help him prepare and file those false Medicaid claims. The state is looking into whether other nurses that worked for him knew what was going on.