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Molina Healthcare headquarters in Long Beach, California Photo: Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

A newly unsealed lawsuit accuses Molina Healthcare of cutting corners in its mental health services for children and defrauding Medicaid in the process.

The big picture: Molina provides Medicaid managed-care plans in more than a dozen states. The whistleblower suit accuses the company of overbilling specifically for children's behavioral health services, to the tune of at least $20 million across multiple federal, state and local agencies.

Details: The lawsuit, which was filed in 2018 but under seal until last month, claims that Molina and two of its subsidiaries failed to maintain individualized treatment plans for some of the children it covered, as required by law. 

  • The company billed some care as if it had been supervised by a professional, even when it wasn't, the lawsuit says, and didn't give some of its providers the proper training.
  • The suit also alleges that Molina provided care for kids who weren't eligible, either because their conditions were too severe for this kind of counseling to make a difference or because their family members couldn't or wouldn't take part in Molina's therapy sessions.
  • And it says Molina illegally fired an employee who complained about those practices.

The other side: Spokespeople from Molina did not respond to a request for comment on the suit.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Aug 14, 2020 - Health

The kids who are most at risk from the coronavirus

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus isn't as deadly for children as it is for adults, but kids still get it and can still get seriously sick from it. The risk is higher for Black and Hispanic children.

Why it matters: In communities with high caseloads, cases among children could explode as schools reopen. And kids in the communities already hit hardest by the pandemic are the most at risk.

1 hour ago - World

Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.

Biden picks Warren allies to lead SEC, CFPB

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has selected FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Obama-era Wall Street regulator Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Why it matters: Both picks are progressive allies of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and viewed as likely to take aggressive steps to regulate big business.

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