Preti Flaherty Files Class Action Suit Against Possibilities CounselingOctober 25, 2010
Preti Flaherty Announces The Filing of a Class Action Suit Against Possibilities Counseling, Inc. and its CEO/President on behalf of Social Workers & Mental Health Providers More than 500 Mainers Are Owed Money For Health Services
October 25, 2010 PORTLAND, ME. – Portland law firm Preti Flaherty today announced the filing of a class action lawsuit against Possibilities Counseling Services, Inc. (PCS) of Auburn, Maine and its President and CEO, Wendy Bergeron for failing to process and pay fees to roughly 550 social workers and mental health providers. At one time, PCS was Maine's largest mental health agency serving thousands of clients.
"We see this as the first step in recovering money that is owed to so many of Maine's mental health providers," said Plaintiff John Thibodeau, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who lives in Portland and is one of the class plaintiffs.
Possibilities, Inc. offers independent health providers like social workers a service that coordinates payments made by third parties including MaineCare and Medicare. For example, between June and mid-September 2010, the State of Maine paid more than $3.8 million for counseling services. In their standard agreement, Possibilities promised that it would make payments within two weeks. Over the last two years, social workers and mental health providers found that their checks were delayed or for less than what was owed.
"This has been an ongoing challenge for far too long," said co-lead Plaintiff Maryann Carroll, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the other class plaintiff, "this is an opportunity to make this right and get the providers what they billed and what they are owed."
In August 2010, 16 of the 18 PCS employees resigned. This prompted the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to investigate PCS. DHHS found "serious deficiencies" including that PCS hired replacement employees who were not properly trained. In September 2010, PCS Chief Executive Officer Wendy Bergeron informed DHHS through an attorney that she planned to close PCS at the end of October. Social workers and mental health providers have had a hard time reaching Bergeron throughout. Recently, Bergeron has informed several people that PCS was unable to pay overdue claims.
"We filed this case on behalf of all the people who have not been paid by Possibilities Counseling Services," explained Preti Flaherty attorney Greg Hansel. "A class action is a way for a large group to recover small claims in one case. Drawing on our firm's class action and health law experience, we are pursuing this case in the interest of all the providers who have been hurt by the actions of Possibilities."
The goal of the case is for PCS and Ms. Bergeron to pay the approximately 550 social workers and mental health providers the money that they are owed for their hard work with Mainers from across the State. Mr. Thibodeau, Ms. Carroll and Preti Flaherty seek to assure that all those affected will benefit from a positive outcome of this class action.
About Preti Flaherty
With more than 90 attorneys, Preti Flaherty counsels clients in the areas of business law, energy, environmental, estate planning, health care, intellectual property, labor and employment, legislative and regulatory, litigation, technology and telecommunications. More about the firm can be found on its web site: www.preti.com.