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Boston-based home health care provider is sentenced for Medicaid fraud

The owner of a Boston home health care agency was sentenced on Friday to two to three years in state prison for stealing millions of dollars from MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program.

Elena Kurbatzky, 45, who owned Harmony Home Health Care LLC, was found to have billed MassHealth for in-home services to 38 patients, though most of the services were not provided or authorized, prosecutors said. She was convicted of three counts of Medicaid false claims, three counts of larceny over $250 by false pretenses, and one count of Medicaid member eligibility fraud, Attorney General Maura Healey’s office announced Monday.

“The defendant stole millions from MassHealth and took advantage of patients and taxpayers,” Healey said in a statement. “We will continue to investigate and take action against those who commit fraud against MassHealth and take health care resources away from people who need them.”

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Under her sentence, Kurbatzky must also serve three years of probation after her release, and must provide restitution up to $1.8 million, Healey’s office said. She is forbidden from contracting with federal and state health care programs while on probation.

Kurbatzky was indicted last July following an investigation by Healey’s office.

The investigation found that her company billed MassHealth for nurses that it claimed were caring for patients at different locations at the same time, the statement said.

It also billed for services that were not authorized by the patients’ physicians, sometimes forging signatures in an effort to prove the care plans were OK’d.

As a MassHealth member herself, Kurbatzky also failed to disclose that she was paid $2.6 million by Harmony over two years. This made her ineligible for the program, but she billed MassHealth for services she said she received from her own company.

An audit in 2016 found that nine home care companies, not including Harmony, had defrauded the state of more than $20 million.

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“MassHealth has strengthened its program integrity efforts to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent appropriately on those who truly need assistance,” Dan Tsai, the assistant secretary for MassHealth, said in a statement.


J.D. Capelouto can be reached at jd.capelouto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jdcapelouto.