Breathitt County clinic, Lexington lab worked together in kickback scheme

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BREATHITT COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - On January 10th an Eastern Kentucky clinic manager admitted to accepting kickbacks to refer patients for drug testing at a Lexington laboratory, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

Teresa C. Merced pleaded guilty to charges of taking kickbacks, lying to federal authorities and trying to have a witness lie on her behalf.

Merced managed St. John Neumann’s Extended Hours medical clinic in Breathitt County. According to her plea deal, her husband Pablo was a doctor who provided substance abuse treatment.

A lab CEO from Lexington first met with her in 2019 after several conversations over the phone.

In August 2019, she received a $4,000 check in "earnest money" towards a $14,000 bribe.

The most serious charge in Merced's plea could land her 20 years in prison, but her sentence will likely be reduced under advisory guidelines.

The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office Medicaid fraud unit and the U.S Department of Health and Human Services investigated Merced's case.

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