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Vegas Lost: The State acted against boarding school months before arrests

Northwest Academy.JPG
Vegas Lost: The State acted against boarding school months before arrests

Nevada’s Division of Health Care Financing and Policy tried to take action against Northwest Academy in June but was stopped in a Nye County court.

We have learned that the State of Nevada was suspicious of Medicaid reimbursements filed by owners of the troubled boarding school months before those owners, Marcel and Patricia Chappuis were arrested and charged with child abuse.

When they noticed the suspicious activity they stopped payment to the school immediately and planned to investigate whether fraud was committed.

RELATED | Vegas Lost: Northwest Academy's troubled past with the state

The State’s DHCFP office did not go into specifics of their suspicions but would confirm that Northwest Academy had failed to tell them their psychiatrist had left the school in 2017.

When officials at Northwest Academy noticed the missed payment they filed a restraining order in Nye County court claiming that they “would be forced to close before it is afforded an opportunity for review” by the state. They argued to Judge Steven Elliot that the school “had no other remedy at law without an injunction by the courts.”

On July 12, Judge Elliot granted a restraining order which stopped the State from denying Northwest Academy Medicaid dollars.

The matter was settled in January of 2019, with Judge Elliot writing, "This stipulation is made as a result of the parties entering into a mutually agreeable settlement pertaining to the disputed issues in this matter."

Representatives with the State disagreed with the wording by the Judge, writing us the following statement:

“The Division of Health Care Financing and Policy (DHCFP) would not use the term "mutually agreeable settlement. The Court in Nye County issued an order. After the Court in Nye County issued an order, the division complied with the order.DHCFP continued to investigate and educate the provider, as is outlined in division processes. The claims data for a provider with Northwest Academy was reviewed with records to ensure all services reimbursed were provided by qualified individuals. In addition, as with all Medicaid providers, education was provide by staff to ensure the providers billed as required by Medicaid policies."

Less than a month after the case was dismissed, the owners of Northwest Academy, Marcel and Patricia Chappuis, were arrested and charged with child abuse related to arsenic levels in the water at the school.

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