Former Nurse Pleads Guilty to Workers' Compensation Fraud in Ohio

April 27, 2005
A Hudson, Ohio, nurse has pleaded guilty for her alleged involvement with a chiropractic clinic accused of defrauding the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation of more than $190,000.

Stephanie Kinnen, a former nurse for West Side Medical Inc., recently pleaded guilty to workers' compensation fraud and seven other felony counts, including three counts of conspiracy to possess drugs and two counts of conspiracy to tamper with records, according to a spokesperson with the bureau.

Kinnen is one of several former staffers from West Side Medical Inc. -- based in the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood -- facing charges, the spokesperson said.

The Bureau of Workers' Compensation was joined by several other state and local agencies in its investigation of West Side Medical Inc. for alleged illegal practices.

The investigation began when the bureau's Special Investigations Unit noticed West Side Medical Inc. had falsely used the name of a physician on its documents, according to the bureau. The physician referenced had not worked at the facility for many years, the agency claims.

The investigation, according to the bureau, also proved that West Side Medical had repeatedly billed the agency for services that never were provided, dispensed medication to injured workers and required the injured workers to pay for the medication.

Surveillance administered by the Special Investigations Unit revealed that the only physician employed by the clinic infrequently visited the office, according to the bureau. Surveillance and billing reviews exposed that injured workers who only spent a matter of moments in the facility were being charged for services, the bureau says.

The bureau's Special Investigations Unit served search warrants at three locations with more than 30 agents involved in the process.

"The West Side Medical case further proves that Ohio will not tolerate workers' compensation fraud," said James Conrad, administrator and CEO for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

Kinnen will be sentenced in the Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas on May 13.

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