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Whistleblower Lawsuit Says Mass. Mental Health Center Defrauded The Government By Using 'Unqualified' Employees

A whistleblower lawsuit accuses South Bay Mental Health Center Inc. of defrauding the federal and state government of $130 million through fraudulent billing practices.

A former training supervisor claims in the suit that South Bay's 17 mental health centers in Massachusetts billed the government for the services of "unlicensed, unqualified, and unsupervised employees."

The suit states that more than 30,000 patients a year were treated by unqualified clinicians and calls that a clear violation of regulations and requirements of the state's Medicaid program.

The state attorney general's office says it's preparing to file its own complaint against South Bay.

In a statement emailed Thursday, Michael Pelletier, president and COO of South Bay Community Services, said that after reviewing the matter, "our findings do not support our former employee's claims."

Pelletier added that South Bay intends "to follow the legal steps necessary to resolve this matter as efficiently as possible, and we remain focused on the well-being of our consumers and employees."

With reporting by WBUR's David Boeri and the Newcast Unit

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