Tuesday, January 10, 2006

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Attorney General Abbott Wins Guilty Plea In Dallas Fraud Case At Nursing Home

DALLAS - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit assisted the Dallas County District Attorney in securing a guilty plea from a former employee of Brentwood Healthcare, Ltd. who lied about his credentials as a registered nurse to get hired and win promotions.

David Wayne Rhodes, 40, of Mesquite held positions at the Medicaid-funded facility that required, at a minimum, graduation from an accredited school of professional nursing and a license as a registered nurse, neither of which he had obtained. He fraudulently claimed to be a nurse to gain employment at Brentwood from 1994-97, then was rehired in 1999 as Director of Nursing. In August 2002, he was made Director of Risk Management, and in July 2004 assumed the position of Director of Clinical Services. He was terminated in December 2004.

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David Rhodes
David Rhodes

“We must insist on ethics and integrity within the health care profession in the first place, but when individuals cross the line and give false information about their level of expertise to enrich themselves at taxpayer expense, then justice must prevail,” said Attorney General Abbott. “In this case, the health and welfare of nursing home residents could have been threatened when their well-being was placed in the hands of an unqualified individual.”

Rhodes pleaded guilty to felony charges of practicing nursing without a license, aggravated perjury and tampering with a government document. The investigation proved he filed fraudulent employee evaluation forms with Medicaid to reflect a professional skill level that would trigger increased salaries. He will serve 10 years probation and pay fines totaling $6,000. He was indicted by a grand jury in August 2005.

The case was prosecuted by Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Julie Wilbanks.