Monday, 20 November 2017 20:37

Getchell Agency faces fraud allegations Featured

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AUGUSTA- For nearly a year, the Getchell Agency's finances have been under the protection of a federal bankruptcy judge.

Now, according to court documents filed earlier this month, the state and federal Departments of Health and Human Services want to cut Medicaid and Mainecare payments to the Bangor agency.

“They want me just gone,” said Rena Getchell, owner of The Getchell Agency.

The allegations include charges the Getchell Agency has been billing Mainecare for services it failed to provide. Getchell claims the fraud accusations stem from a handful of documents that were improperly completed.

“But that's the bullying within the state system. Or they'll use fraud or ruin your character,” said Getchell.

For nearly 20 years the Getchell Agency has provided residential services to adults with mental health issues ranging from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to bipolar disorder.

The possibility the agency could lose it's funding has Bonnie Robinson worried about her 38 year-old son's future.

“I'm not real happy about it because having been with a couple of other agencies, the reason we came to the Getchell Agency was to get the kind of support that is provided for him here,” said Bonnie Robinson, whose son is a client at the agency.

According to Getchell, her agency receives a combined total of more than $11.5 million annually from Mainecare and Medicaid.

Linda Savoy's 21 year-old daughter has blossomed under the guidance of staff.

“She has come a long ways,” said Savoy.

The DHHS staff, however, maintained in court records there are concerns about patient safety.

Eda Stoll's 24 year-old autistic son has taken developmental giant steps during the past five years.

“He's happy. He's doing stuff. He's being productive. He's got a job,” said Stoll.

Employees are threatened with firing if they fail to falsify billing statements, according to court documents.

Numerous efforts during the past few weeks to get a comment from anyone with the Maine DHHS were unsuccessful.

The owner of the Getchell Agency says this effort by the federal and state governments to cut off funding is just the latest attempt to run her out of business.

Ashley Paul

Evening News Anchor/Reporter
[email protected]

Ashley joined the WVII ABC 7 and WFVX Fox 22 in April 2015. After working as an intern at Fox 29 in Philadelphia, Fox 25 and Channel 7 in Boston, and The Today Show in Australia, she is so excited to officially kick off her career as a reporter here in Maine!

Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Ashley has had an interest in news since anchoring the morning broadcast at her elementary school at the age of 10. Ashley is also a graduate of Boston University, with a degree in Journalism. At BU, she participated in various BUTV programs and reported live from the democratic headquarters during the election day coverage.

When not at the station, Ashley enjoys working out, spending time with family and friends, traveling, and watching movies. She is so excited to enjoy all that Maine has to offer, so if you see her out be sure to say hello!