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Johnson And Wyandotte County Nurse, Aides Charged In Crackdown On Medicaid Fraud

Ten nurses and aides in seven counties were charged with Medicaid fraud and other counts as part of a statewide enforcement sweep.

A licensed nurse in Johnson County is one of 10 nurses and aides accused of Medicaid fraud and other criminal charges in a statewide crackdown on Kansas health care facilities that get Medicaid funding.

In a complaint filed in Johnson County District Court, Catherine M. Santaniello is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, two counts of mistreatment of a dependent adult, and battery.

The complaint contains few details and the person she allegedly mistreated is not identified. 

Santaniello could not be reached for comment.

The complaints, part of an enforcement sweep by the Kansas attorney general’s office, name defendants in seven counties who worked as nurses, certified nurse aides or certified medication aides. They are accused of defrauding Medicaid, stealing narcotics and mistreating dependent adults.

Two individuals are charged in Wyandotte County. Jennifer Lynn Jones, a certified nurse aide, is charged with Medicaid fraud, theft of the pain-killing drug Percocet, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and making a false accounting entry.  

Erin Grae Whitlow is charged with Medicaid fraud, possession of a controlled substance and two counts of mistreatment of a dependent adult.

Jones could not be reached for comment. Whitlow uttered a profanity and hung up when asked to comment.

None of the complaints identifies the facilities where the alleged crimes took place.  

The cases are being prosecuted by Kansas’ Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), which obtained judgments totaling $2.1 million in the fiscal year ending June 30. The unit brought more cases, 28, against personal care attendants than against any other kind of health provider, according to the division’s annual report.   

Except for North Dakota, every state and the District of Columbia has an MFCU jointly funded by the federal and state government. Collectively, MFCUs recovered $1.8 billion in 2017, according to a report by the Office of the Inspector General.

The report noted that personal care attendants accounted for 45 percent, or 523, of all fraud convictions. Nursing cases accounted for the next highest total, with 88 convictions.  

Dan Margolies is a senior reporter and editor at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies

Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio. He retired as a reporter in December 2022 after a 37-year journalism career.
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