Nurse Pleads Guilty to Supervisory Role in $45 Million Home Health Fraud Scheme

Sharon Gulla, who worked as an administrator and director of nursing at three Chicago-area home health companies, admitted she instructed nurses to falsely certify patients for in-home skilled nursing and pled guilty, on September 9, 2016, to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud.  Gulla is among more than a dozen people indicted in the scheme that is alleged to have stolen $45 million in Medicare reimbursements by falsely certifying that patients needed in-home care.  Federal prosecutors calculated a guideline sentence of roughly seven to nine years for Gulla but she could face up to ten years in federal prison.  Gulla is also responsible for $3.5 million in restitution.

As an administrator and director of nursing at the companies, she instructed nurses to fill out health assessment forms to make it appear that patients qualified for in-home care, when in fact they did not.  She also orchestrated a patient “recycling” program to maximize billing where patients would be discharged from home care only to be re-certified three to six weeks later.  One of Gulla’s co-conspirators testified that 80 percent of patients were “recycled” in this manner.  Including Gulla, six people named in the indictment have pled guilty, including several nurses, a patient recruiter and a former director of nursing.