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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

September 27, 2012 at 9:59 AM

KING5 investigation: State sues high-profile Seattle activist

KING5: “The state recently filed a lawsuit against Rev. Harriett Walden to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in Medicaid money.”

Walden, who has long been an activist in Seattle, is head of Mothers for Police Accountability, which has sought many of the changes now under way in the Seattle Police Department.

The state is looking into her billing practices as an optician.

From the KING5 story:

The Seattle optician (Walden) earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in Medicaid eye glass repair fees over the course of three years – the top biller in the state.

A KING 5 investigation uncovered evidence submitted to the state that raises questions about Rev. Walden’s business and why she was allowed to continue questionable billing at taxpayer expense.

The Walden case also raises questions at the state’s specialized Medicaid Fraud Control Unit that investigates and prosecutes health care providers who cheat the program that’s supposed to provide medical care to low-income citizens.

The Walden case was closed last year, but last week the state filed a lawsuit against her to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in Medicaid money.

Rev. Walden’s response:

“It was nothing criminal,” Rev. Walden told the KING 5 Investigators by phone. She says her problems were “paperwork errors” and that she was entitled to all the money she received from Medicaid.

Rev. Walden declined to be interviewed on-camera, but said the state tried to “run me out of business” with the 2006 audit.  She said state investigators didn’t appreciate the type of work she did.

Walden explained that she billed a high number of repair fees because she was a mobile optician who visited nursing homes in Western Washington. She says her elderly clients couldn’t visit the optical store, so she brought her services to them.  Many clients couldn’t fix their own broken glasses, so Walden fixed them for them – each for a $20 fee to Medicaid.

 

Comments | More in Government | Topics: Harriett Walden, investigation, Medicaid

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