Westminster Counselor Charged With Fraudulent Billing

November 11, 1990|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,STAFF WRITER

WESTMINSTER - A county psychotherapist, host of Carroll Community Television's "Counselor's Corner," was charged with three counts of theft in connection with a Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance fraud.

Steven M. Mednick, owner of the Carroll County Family Counseling Center, was arrested Wednesday after city police -- in coordination with the Maryland State Police -- searched and seized records from his business on Main Street.

Records were also seized from his home-based office, the Baltimore County Family Counseling Center, in Pikesville.

Mednick, who was released yesterday on $15,000 bail, was charged with two counts of felony theft over $300 and one count of misdemeanor theft under $300, said Lt. Dean Brewer of the Westminster Police. Mednick is charged with stealing $8,176 from Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

A client of Mednick's, a Blue Cross/Blue Shield employee who was enrolled in a company orientation course on insurance fraud, reported the overbilling, said William Dugan, criminal inspector for the Carroll state's attorney's office.

Dugan said the employee noticed the examples of fraudulent billing described in class were similar to discrepancies she had noticed in bills she received from Mednick.

"She said her bills didn't seem to coincide with the times she was seeing him," he said.

Two civilian inspectors from the insurance company then posed as patients and made appointments with Mednick. They reported to Blue Cross/Blue Shield over the course of several months that the counselor was double- and triple-billing the company, Dugan said.

Patients often do not check their statements to make sure they are accurate, making it easy for doctors to overcharge, Dugan said.

Doctors rely on that to take money from Blue Cross/Blue Shield, he said.

In another count, Mednick is charged with billing the company for a couple's marriage counseling, a treatment Blue Cross/Blue Shield doesn't cover, Dugan said. On the bill to Blue Cross, the treatment description was changed to psychotherapy, Dugan said.

Additional charges are pending, Brewer said, and the Internal Revenue Service has been notified of the charges against Mednick.

Paul LeValley, coordinator of Carroll Community Television, said he has no plans to take Mednick's program off the air.

"We air according to the producer's request," he said. "The fact that he's been arrested does not change that."

However, a producer's request must be renewed every 30 days. If Mednick does not make an application, the program will be dropped, LeValley said.

Mednick did not return repeated calls to his office.

His trial date is set for Jan. 10 in Carroll County District Court.

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