Attorney General Recovers $2.3 Million In Settlement With Long Island Substance Abuse Treatment Center

Attorney General Spitzer announced today that Seafield Center, Inc. (SCI), a substance abuse treatment center in Suffolk County, has agreed to make full repayment of the more than $2.3 million it overbilled taxpayers. An investigation revealed that SCI billed for services either that were not provided or that it was reimbursed at a rate higher than the facility was entitled to receive.

The settlement is based on an audit conducted by the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU). In reviewing the cost reports SCI submitted to the State, the audit revealed that the reports substantially overstated SCI's true operating costs by including such personal expenses as "salaries" for its owner's wife and daughters, golf outings, monthly club membership, clothing, and tickets to various sporting events. Because SCI's inpatient Medicaid reimbursement rates are cost-based, the inclusion of these personal expenses falsely inflated the rate and amount of money SCI received from the State between January 1995 and December 1998.

"The taxpayer-funded Medicaid program was designed to assist citizens in need, not pay for golf outings and tickets to baseball games, " said Spitzer. "The recovery of this money by the MFCU, and the safeguards of this agreement, will go a long way in ensuring that those needs are being properly met."

The audit also determined that SCI failed to maintain proper records regarding outpatient services. Consequently, SCI could not substantiate that services were actually rendered in many cases.

Seafield Center, Inc., is located at 7 Seafield Lane in Westhampton Beach, New York.

Special Assistant Attorney General Michael L. Rice, Deputy Director of the MFCU's Long Island Regional Office, conducted the investigation resulting in this repayment of Medicaid funds. Laurence J. Iacueo, Acting Chief of the MFCU's Civil Division, also assisted in the settlement. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.