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WUNC reports from Greensboro about Guilford County and surrounding area.

Greensboro Mental Health Clinics Accused Of Medicaid Scheme

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Greensboro officials are investigating claims of alleged Medicaid housing fraud.

The scheme allegedly put homeless people in apartments if they were enrolled in their substance abuse program. However, some of those enrolled weren’t addicted to heavy drugs. If that was the case, officials would use urine tainted by drugs to enroll them in the program.

Then, the local mental health agencies would bill Medicaid for housing reimbursement.

Former clients alerted the Greensboro Housing Coalition and then the city launched an investigation into their claims.

"It also makes landlords probably very skeptical about dealing with the good actors because they just can't tell anymore," Greensboro Housing Coalition Executive Director Brett Byerly said. "They're probably going to think we're all scammers."

Byerly said he wouldn’t be surprised if schemes like this were happening elsewhere.

"I believe that this thing is all over the place," he said. "There's a potential that this thing is statewide and potentially national."

One of the agencies mentioned in the allegations - Ready 4 Change - said the charges are false. The other - United Health Care - wouldn't comment.

Byerly said landlords need to be more aware of whether they’re being used for false purposes.

"If the tenant is not involved on the contract for their housing that should throw up a red flag for you," he said. "When I help somebody move into a place, my name is not on their lease. Their name is on their lease."

Naomi P. Brown joined WUNC in January 2017.
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