Searcy mental health agency owner charged with Medicaid fraud

The owner of a mental health agency is accused of fraudulently billing Medicaid for nearly $20,000 in services rendered to patients.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Thursday announced the arrest of Pamela Townsend-Bell of Judsonia on two counts of Medicaid fraud, a Class B felony. She appeared in Pulaski County District Court on March 18 and was released pending further proceedings, according to a press release from the attorney general’s office.

Townsend-Bell is a licensed clinical social worker who owns I’m a 10 Wellness Center, LLC, a mental health agency located in Searcy.

The documents indicate that Townsend-Bell billed Medicaid for one-to-one individual counseling services provided by unlicensed personnel, posing as the performing provider. Medicaid requires these types of outpatient mental health services to be provided by licensed therapists.

Between 2018 and 2021, Townsend-Bell submitted more than 300 fraudulent Medicaid claims totaling more than $18,600, according to the statement.

“Townsend-Bell deliberately misrepresented payments that violated rules and provider agreements issued by the Arkansas Medicaid program,” the attorney general’s office said in the statement. “Furthermore, she deliberately made false entries in medical records indicating that she provided services to Medicaid recipients.”

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