6/13/2013 11:53:00 AM Guilty plea on theft of medical payments; sentencing July 24
by DENISE MARTIN
A Franconia Township woman, facing trial on seven felony counts of theft of medical costs, pled guilty June 4 to two counts, in a plea agreement presented to District Judge John McBride.
Lana Dawn Hansch Barnes will be sentenced July 24. The counts in the plea agreement stem from 2009 and 2010. Theft charges from 2007 and 2008 were dismissed. The total of the Medicaid program funds Barnes was charged with obtaining through deception was a little over $100,000. The state attorney general’s office prosecuted the case in District Court in Center City. The criminal complaint filed in early 2012 alleged that Barnes, 58, had falsely made claims for wages to an agency that disperses Medicaid funds to people supplying personal attendant care.
The MN Dept. of Human Services contracts with care provider agencies that oversee care and payroll for the approved personal care attendants all over the state. Investigators reported that payments meant for care to be provided by the patient’s son, Fred Barnes, ended up benefitting Lana Barnes, who was not authorized to receive payments. Years of fraudulent payments passed through Nurse Staffing Solutions, to cover care hours allegedly provided by Fred Barnes, who was authorized under Medicaid rules to receive the compensation.
Investigators learned Fred Barnes could not have provided care to his ailing family member, as he was out of town driving for an over-the-road trucking firm during hours that were claimed. The family member also was hospitalized during time periods that personal care attendant hours were claimed. The investigation began after Chisago County Health Dept. officials notified the state Dept of Human Services about concerns they had with the case.