Case Update: Bradford County Nurse Practitioner Pleads Guilty to $450K Prescription Fraud

March 16, 2023 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Michelle Henry announced today that a Bradford County nurse practitioner pleaded guilty to prescribing medications without a collaborating doctor and false billing. Some of the charged conduct happened while she was engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a patient.

Stefanie King, 46, of Ulster, PA, pleaded guilty to several felony counts and has surrendered her Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner’s license. She is also ordered to pay nearly $450,000 in restitution.

“The defendant abused her position of trust by engaging in conduct that served herself and violated a system meant to assist our most vulnerable residents,” said AG Henry. “My office is committed to holding accountable those who put patients at risk and compromise our health care programs.”

The investigation found that King falsely billed in excess of $300,000 to private insurers, as well as $100,000 to the Commonwealth, for services below acceptable medical treatment standards. Additionally, she wrote over 3,750 prescriptions to patients while not meeting the requirements to prescribe under Pennsylvania law.

King entered into a sexual relationship with a patient beginning in November 2016 at her Athens practice and billed a private insurer for the time they spent together. King later entered into a second relationship with a different patient and continued to prescribe controlled substances to him, despite discontinuing medical care after the relationship began.

Under Pennsylvania law, nurse practitioners are required to enter into collaborative agreements with Pennsylvania licensed physicians in order to perform medical diagnoses and to prescribe controlled substances. Investigators also found that King misled past physician collaborators and renewed previous agreements without their knowledge.

In all, King pleaded guilty to one felony count of violating the Controlled Substance Act- Obtained by Subterfuge; one felony count of Medicaid Fraud; one felony count of Insurance Fraud; and one felony count of violating the Controlled Substance Act- Delivery by Practitioner. She has agreed not to practice as a nurse for the duration of her sentence and voluntarily surrendered her license to practice as a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner. She will pay restitution of $348,760 to Highmark and $100,425 to Community Care Behavioral Health Organization.

This case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Mark Bellavia and Senior Deputy Attorney General Christopher R. Sherwood.

The Pennsylvania Medicaid Fraud Control Unit receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $9,781,180 for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2023. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $3,260,392 for FY 2023, is funded by Pennsylvania.

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