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AG: CleanSlate treatment centers and former owner billed MassHealth for unneeded tests

A substance abuse treatment company and its former owner, Dr. Amanda L. Wilson, wrongly charged MassHealth millions of dollars for urine tests patients did not need, Attorney General Maura Healey alleges in a new federal lawsuit.

Healey is demanding that Wilson and the companies operating under the names of Total Wellness Centers, LLC, CleanSlate Centers, Inc., and CleanSlate Centers, LLC return the payments they received over the past several years.

According to Healey, Wilson created corporate policies that required health care providers at the company to use a company-owned lab in Holyoke to test specimens submitted by its own patients, a violation of the state and federal laws banning self-dealing.

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Healey filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts under the Massachusetts False Claims Act.

The investigation into CleanSlate and Wilson began in 2017 when a whistleblower alerted state and federal authorities that the company was violating MassHealth and federal Medicaid reimbursement rules, Healey said in a statement.

“This company’s business model was to illegally profit by cheating our state Medicaid program, which provides vital health care resources to some of our most vulnerable residents,” Healey said in a statement. “We will take legal action against this kind of misconduct in order to recover funds for our state and protect the integrity of MassHealth.”

CleanSlate was formerly based in Northampton but is now headquartered in Tennessee, according to Healey’s office. The company provides opioid treatments in an office environment and currently operates in multiple locations in Massachusetts and around the country.

In a statement released by a company spokeswoman, CleanSlate said it has acted ethically and did not see any reason for Healey to step into the civil litigation in federal court that has been underway for the past three years.

“We strongly believe this claim is without merit, and we look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate in court that the care provided to our patients was outstanding and the lab tests that were ordered were medically necessary,'' the company statement said. Maintaining a culture of integrity is of the utmost importance to our company and we remain confident that our business practices and policies fully comply with both federal and state law."

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Wilson’s attorney, Carol Heckman, said Wilson agreed with CleanSlate’s statement and declined further comment.



John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.