There are individuals of all ages, from infants to the elderly, who have difficulties with speech. Thankfully, with the help of a speech-language pathologist (SLP), these individuals receive assistance that also works to improve their voices, use of language and even ability to swallow. Also known as speech therapists, SLPs are healthcare professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating communication disorders.
Speech-language pathologists also specialize in assessing and diagnosing cognitive-communication disorders. They include problems organizing thoughts, paying attention, remembering, planning and/or problem-solving. Often, these issues come as a result of strokes, traumatic brain injuries or dementia. In some cases, these disorders can be congenital.
Speech-language pathologist arrested for defrauding Florida Medicaid.
Earlier today, Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) announced that Kristin Marie Stiggleman has been arrested. The speech-language pathologist is accused of defrauding Florida Medicaid. According to the report, Stiggleman is a therapy provider in Hillsborough County. She allegedly inflated her work hours by billing for services that were not provided. She also misappropriated more than $5,000 from Medicaid.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office assisted in arresting Stiggleman. She has officially been charged with Medicaid provider fraud and grand theft. The report reveals that, a licensed speech-language pathologist, Stiggleman was tasked with the assessment and treatment of children who have speech, language, voice and fluency disorders.
Stiggleman’s fraudulent activity took place over a year and a half.
Attorney General Moody’s MFCU investigation found that between March 2020 and September 2021, Stiggleman inflated her hours. She billed Medicaid for services that were not provided on numerous occasions. In addition, she billed for services even when she personally cancelled sessions, when children discontinued services or when children were unavailable for services due to hospitalization. In total, Stiggleman stole more than $5,700 of public funds.
“The Florida Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates and prosecutes providers that intentionally defraud the state’s Medicaid program through fraudulent billing practices,” informs the Attorney General’s website, “Medicaid fraud essentially steals from Florida’s taxpayers. Additionally, the MFCU investigates allegations of patient abuse, neglect, and exploitation in facilities receiving payments under the Medicaid program.”
Attorney General Ashley Moody offered her thoughts about the case.
“This speech-language pathologist was trusted to provide care for vulnerable children and abused that trust to line her own pockets,” she is quoted as saying in the report, “She inflated her hours spent treating children, billed for sessions she personally canceled, and even billed for services when children were unavailable due to hospitalization. Thanks to our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, her scheme is shut down and she will now face our Statewide Prosecutors.”
“Stiggleman faces one count of Medicaid-provider fraud and one count of grand theft, both third-degree felonies,” the Attorney General’s report concludes, “Assistant Attorney General Joseph Kelly, through the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, will prosecute the case.”
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