Colorado Springs speech pathologist pleads guilty to $1.2 million in phony Medicaid claims

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - An El Paso County-based speech pathologist has pleaded guilty to felony theft charges after pocketing $1.2 million in fraudulent billing.

The Colorado Attorney General's Office says that over a six-year period, Tara Rose and her company, Beyond Words LLC, submitted Medicaid billing and received funds for sessions that didn't occur and for patients she never treated. The attorney general's office said in many cases, the patients she had alleged to see had never even heard of her.

In total, only 36 percent of the $1.9 million Rose received from the Medicaid program was for legitimate claims.

"The Medicaid program provides over a million low-income Coloradans with vital medical coverage,” said Attorney General Coffman in a statement Thursday. “Medicaid fraud steals from Colorado taxpayers and diverts limited healthcare resources from the most vulnerable citizens of our state.

"My office will continue to aggressively prosecute any health care provider who engages in this type of criminal activity.”

In return for the guilty plea, Rose was sentenced to eight years in Colorado's community corrections program for one theft count and 10 years on probation for the second count. The two sentences will run consecutively.

According to Colorado.gov , community corrections "provides a sentencing or placement alternative, in lieu of prison incarceration, for felony offenders. Participating in a community corrections program requires the offender to change his or her behavior, while allowing some restricted privileges to access the community."