Owner of Middle Georgia Family Rehab Admits to Document Alteration in Federal Investigation

Owner of Middle Georgia Family Rehab Admits to Document Alteration in Federal Investigation

Brenda Hicks, 58, owner of Middle Georgia Family Rehab, has admitted in federal court to ordering two employees to illegally alter documents during a federal civil investigation into alleged improper healthcare billing by her business.

Hicks pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice before Chief U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell on June 5. She faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. The plea agreement also requires Hicks to pay restitution to TRICARE, Medicare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicaid, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Sentencing is set for Sept. 5. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Anyone who attempts to alter or destroy documents requested as part of a federal investigation will face federal penalties for breaking the law,” stated U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “For the sake of justice and truth, it is imperative that the integrity of the investigation is maintained for the benefit of all parties.”

Court documents reveal that Middle Georgia Family Rehab, LLC (MGFR)—an outpatient rehabilitation facility owned by Hicks with locations in Byron and Macon—received a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) on Oct. 7, 2019, requesting various patient records. Hicks arranged a meeting with two MGFR employees, describing the CID as an “audit” and stating that MGFR did not possess the requested records. She instructed the employees to retrieve any portions of the files from their system and storage unit.

When many records were found to be blank or missing, Hicks told the employees to create or sign the necessary documents. She specifically directed them to fabricate progress notes by copying and pasting narratives from other sessions, which should have contained unique details like the patient’s pain level and exercises performed. One employee, concerned about the legality of these actions, quit. The other employee complied, adding notes and signatures to the records, which were then submitted to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Division on Dec. 2, 2019.

Hicks has admitted to conspiring to alter patient records with the intent to compromise their integrity and availability for use in a civil action.

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