Julian Metter Surrenders Psychology License
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
In 2009, Juilan Metter, Ph.D., a psychologist who practiced in State College, Pennsylvania signed a consent agreement and order under which he permanently surrendered his license to practice psychology. The state psychology board took action after Metter pleaded guilty to Medicare billing fraud after being charged with billing Medicare for more than $50,000 for approximately 200 psychotherapy sessions at his office in Centre County on dates when he was not in Centre County and could not have met with and treated patients. The consent agreement (shown below) also indicates that the board had evidence that Metter displaed "gross incompetence, negligence or misconduct" and "provided services outside the scope of his license to practice psychology," both generally and in his management of two families. In 2011, Metter was sentenced to five months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution of $13,423 to the agency that administers Medicare. One of the family members ("Mrs. P") sued Metter for malpractice and, in July 2012, received a jury award of $16.5 million.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
BEFORE THE STATE BOARD OF PSYCHOLOGY
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Julian B. Metter, Ph.D.
|Docket No. 1404-63-09
CONSENT AGREEMENT AND ORDER
The Commonwealth and Respondent stipulate as follows in settlement of the above-captioned case.
This matter is before the State Board of Psychology ("Board") pursuant to the Professional Psychologists Practice Act, Act of March 23, 1972, P.L. 136, No. 52, as amended, (Act), 63 P.S. §1201 et seq.
At all relevant and material times, Julian B. Metter, Ph.D. ("Respondent") held a license to practice psychology in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, License No. PS004700L, which was originally issued by the Board on April 11, 1986.
3. The Respondent admits that the following facts are true:
a. Respondent's license to practice psychology in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is active through November 30,2009, and barring any action by the Board, may be renewed thereafter upon the filing of the appropriate documentation and payment of the necessary fees.
b. Respondent's last known address on file with the Board is 313 Logan Avenue, State College, P A 16801.
c. Respondent last practiced in the State College, PA area.
4. The Commonwealth alleges, but the Respondent neither admits nor denies, the following:
The P Family
a. In or around 2001, Respondent began providing psychological services to the P Family' which consists of the mother (B.P.), the father (E.P.) and two children (Br.P. and K.P.)
b. Between 2001 and 2004, the P Family1 saw Respondent on a regular basis for individual, couples and family therapy.
c. In addition to individual, couples and family therapy, Respondent recommended and performed hyperbaric oxygen therapy2 on the father (E.P.) and the two children (Br.P. and K.P.).
d. During the course of the therapeutic relationship, Respondent permitted the entire P Family to use the energy bed, shower and hot tub at Respondent's home.
e. Between July 2003 and February 2004, Respondent performed carbon dioxide therapy on the father (E.P.), which consisted of E.P. breathing carbon dioxide through a mask and then reporting his thoughts to Respondent.
1The Commonwealth will identify the participants by initials only.
2Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT}involves the breathing of pure oxygen while in a sealed chamber that has been pressurized at 1 1/2 to 3 times normal atmospheric pressure.
The M Family
f. On or about July 10, 2007, the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania issued an order in the matter K.M. v. C.M., No. 04-1342-CD directing that the father (C.M.) arrange to have the minor child (S.M.) evaluated by a pediatric psychiatrist solely for the purpose of assessing whether stimulant medication is appropriate to treat the conditions that have been diagnosed in the minor child.
g. Rather than having an evaluation performed by a pediatric psychiatrist as ordered by the Court, C.M. instead arranged for the minor child to be evaluated by Respondent, a licensed psychologist.
h. Respondent performed an extensive evaluation of the minor child (S.M.), and based thereon, made recommendations regarding S.M.'s need for prescription medication.
i. In his report, Respondent recommended that the use of medication as an intervention for this child should be considered premature and suspended until other important factors have been investigated and addressed. Respondent also recommended nutritional supplementation appropriate to support a healthy central nervous system should be considered as adjunctive support for S.M.
j. In his report, Respondent concurred with S.M.'s optometrist and recommended that treatment to address S.M.'s visual processing deficits, including light therapy, be instituted with an optometrist specializing in this field.
k. During all times relevant to the aforementioned facts, Respondent advertised and offered the following services and treatment modalities under the auspices of his license to practice psychology:
l. On or about May 28, 2009, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Case No. 4:09-CR-00176-MM, a Criminal Information was filed charging Respondent with one felony count of knowingly and willfully making and causing to be made materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations, and falsifying, concealing and covering up by trick, scheme and device material facts in connection with the delivery of, and payment for, health care benefits by health care benefit programs for submitting claims for psychotherapy services allegedly provided to patients in Centre County, Pennsylvania on dates when Respondent was not in Centre County and could not have met with and treated patients, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1035. A true and correct copy of the Criminal Information is attached hereto and incorporated by reference as Exhibit A.
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy;
- Carbon dioxide therapy;
- Quantitative EEG;
- The Papimi;
- Lymphatic drainage therapy;
- Craniosacral therapy;
- SomatoEmotional release;
- Auditory integration training with syntonic light therapy and vestibular motion stimulation;
- Irradia mid laser;
- Nyvatex health mat;
- Nutritionally-based therapies;
- The Magnetotron;
- Quantum energetic rebalancer;
- Thymus stimulator;
- Bales photonic stimulator;
- Alpha Stim Micro Current Stimulator;
- The light shield;
- Klinghardt matrix therapy;
- Journey to the Wild Divine;
- Swedish massage; and
- Interactive metronome.
m. On or about June 25, 2009, in the criminal matter referenced above, Respondent pleaded guilty to one felony count of Medicare billing fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1035.
n. Respondent is awaiting sentencing in the above referenced criminal matter.
o. Respondent is aware of his right to have formal charges filed against him and his right to an administrative hearing in this matter, and to the following rights related to that hearing: to be represented by counsel at the hearing; to present witnesses and testimony in defense or in mitigation of any sanction that may be imposed for a violation; to cross-examine witnesses and to challenge evidence presented by the Commonwealth; to present legal arguments by means of a brief; and to take an appeal from any final adverse decision. Nonetheless, Respondent knowingly and voluntarily waives these rights as set forth in paragraph 6 below.
p. Respondent has agreed to waive the aforementioned right to have an adjudicatory hearing before the Board in order to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.
5. Based upon the facts in paragraph 3 above, the Board is authorized to suspend or revoke, or otherwise restrict Respondent's license pursuant to the following:
a. 63 P.S. §1208(a)(4) by displaying gross incompetence, negligence or misconduct in carrying on the practice of psychology;
b. 63 P.S. §1208(a)(1l) by committing immoral or unprofessional conduct;
c. 63 P.S. §1208(a)(9) by violating 49 Pa. Code §41.61, Ethical Principle 6(b), which addresses the welfare of the consumer and prohibits a psychologist from engaging in improper dual relationships with a patient; and
d. 63 P.S. §1208(a)(9) by deviating from the American Psychological Association, Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, Ethical Standard 2.01 by providing services outside the scope of his license to practice psychology and the boundaries of his competence, education, training, and experience as a psychologist, in violation of regulations promulgated by the Board at 49 Pa. Code §41.61, Ethical Principle 3(e).
e. 63 P.S. §208(a)(14) by intentionally submitting to a third-party payor a claim for a service or treatment provided when Respondent was absent from his office.
6. Without admitting to any of the facts in paragraph 4 that the Commonwealth intends to prove at the hearing, and, further without admitting to any violation of the Professional Psychologists Practice Act, Respondent agrees, in the interests of a prompt and final resolution these proceedings not to contest the issuance of the following Order in settlement of this matter:
a. Respondent violated Section 8(a)( 4) of the Act, 63 P.S. §I208(a)( 4), by displaying gross incompetence, negligence or misconduct in carrying on the practice of psychology.
b. Respondent violated Section 8(a)(11) of the Act, 63 P.S. §1208(a)(11) by committing immoral or unprofessional conduct.
c. Respondent violated Section 8(a)(9) of the Act, 63 P.S. §1208(a)(9), by engaging in improper dual relationships with patients, in violation of regulations promulgated by the Board at 49 Pa. Code §41.61, Ethical Principle 6(b).
d. Respondent violated Section 8(a)(9) of the Act, 63 P .S. §1208(a)(9), by deviating from the American Psychological Association, Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, Ethical Standard 2.01 by providing services outside the scope of his license to practice psychology and the boundaries of his competence, education, training, and experience as a psychologist, in violation of regulations promulgated by the Board at 49 Pa. Code §41.61, Ethical Principle 3(e).
e. Respondent violated Section 8(a)(14) of the Act, 63 P.S. §1208(a)(I4), by intentionally submitting to a third-party payor a claim for a service or treatment provided when Respondent was absent from his office.
f. Respondent agrees to the PERMANENT VOLUNTARY SURRENDER of his license to practice psychology in. the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, License No. PS004700L.
g. Respondent knowingly permanently forfeits and relinquishes all right, title, and privilege to practice psychology in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
h. Upon adoption of this Consent Agreement and Order, Respondent shall immediately cease and desist from the practice' of psychology in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Respondent agrees that he will not represent himself as a psychologist, practice or purport to practice psychology in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, hold himself forth as authorized to practice psychology in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the use of a title, or otherwise hold himself forth as authorized to practice psychology in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
i. Pursuant to 49 Pa. Code §41.92, Respondent shall, within thirty (30) days of the issuance of the Board's Order adopting and implementing this Consent· Agreement, notify in writing all current clients of the permanent, voluntary surrender of his license. The notice shall contain the following information:
- The sanction imposed;
- The effective date and length of the sanction;
- The nature of the violation; and
- A statement that the licensee will assist patients in obtaining alternative professional resources and in transferring psychological records.
j. Respondent shall, within forty-five (45) days of the issuance of the Board's Order adopting and implementing this Consent Agreement, provide to the undersigned prosecuting attorney a notarized affidavit that he has fully complied with the notification to his clients provision set forth in subparagraph "i" above.
k. Respondent shall, within ten (10) days of the issuance of the Board's Order adopting and implementing this Consent Agreement, surrender his wall certificate, registration certificate, wallet card and any other licensure documents by mailing them or delivering them in person to:
Bridget K. Guilfoyle, Esquire
Department of State
Office of Chief Counsel
2601 North 3rd Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
1. Respondent agrees that he will never apply for reactivation, renewal, reinstatement, or reissuance of his license to practice psychology in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
m. In the event Respondent ever applies for reactivation, renewal, reinstatement, or reissuance of his license to practice psychology in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, any such application or petition will be denied without consideration by or a hearing before the Board.
n. Nothing in this Agreement shall preclude the prosecuting attorney for the Commonwealth from filing charges or the Board from imposing disciplinary action or corrective measures for violations or facts not contained in this Agreement.
j. This Agreement shall take effect immediately upon its approval and adoption by the Board.
7. Respondent knowingly and voluntarily waives the right to an administrative hearing in this matter, and to the following rights related to that hearing: to be represented by counsel at the hearing; to present witnesses and testimony in defense or in mitigation of any sanction that may be imposed for a violation; to cross-examine witnesses mid to challenge evidence presented by the Commonwealth; to present legal arguments by means of a brief; and to take an appeal from any final adverse decision.
8. Respondent agrees, as a condition of entering into this Agreement, not to seek modification of it at a later date without first obtaining the express written concurrence of the Prosecution Division of the Department of State Office of Chief Counsel.
9. This Agreement is between the prosecuting attorney and Respondent only. Except as otherwise noted, this Agreement is to have no legal effect unless and until the Office of General Counsel approves the contents as to form and legality and the Board approves and adopts the Agreement.
10. Should the Board not approve this Agreement, presentation to and consideration of it by the Board shall not prejudice the Board or any of its members from further participation in the adjudication of this matter. This paragraph is binding on the participants even if the Board does not. approve this Agreement.
11. This Agreement contains the whole agreement between the participants. There are no other terms, obligations, covenants, representations, statements or conditions, or otherwise, of any kind whatsoever concerning this Agreement.
12. Respondent verifies that the fats and statements set forth in this Agreement are true and correct to the best of Respondent's knowledge, information and belief. Respondent understands that statements in this Agreement are made subject to the criminal penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. §4904 relating to unsworn falsification to authorities.
DATED July 20, 2009.
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ALLEGES THAT:
At all times material and pertinent to this Information:
1. The defendant, JULIAN METTER, was a health care provider who operated in Centre County, Pennsylvania providing psychotherapy services to individual patients.
2. In order to properly bill public and private health care benefit programs for these psychotherapy services, it was essential that METTER actually meet, see, treat and interact with these patients. METTER could not bill for services provided to patients if he did not actually see and treat them.
3. As part of his practice METTER billed, Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance programs for psychotherapy services which he allegedly provided to patients, these public and private health insurance programs were "health care benefit programs", as defined by Title 18, United States Code, Section 24(b) in that the programs were public plans, affecting commerce, under which medical benefits, items and services are provided to individuals.
4. In truth, and in fact, as METTER then well knew, on approximately 200 occasions between October 2002 and October 2005 METTER billed these health care benefit programs for more than $50,000 for psychotherapy sessions with individual patients at his office in Centre County Pennsylvania on dates when METTER was not in Centre County and could not have met with, and treated, patients.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CHARGES THAT:
5. The United States incorporates by reference as though fully set forth herein the Introduction to this Information.
6. Beginning on or about October 2002, and continuing at various times up through on or about October 2005, in Centre County and within the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the defendant—
did knowingly and willfully make and cause to be made materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representation's, and falsify, conceal and cover up by trick, scheme and device material facts in connection with the delivery of, and payment for, health care benefits by health care benefit programs, in that METTER submitted claims for psychotherapy services provided to patients in Centre County Pennsylvania on dates when, in truth, and in fact, as METTER then well knew, METTER was not in Centre County and could not' have met with, and treated, patients.
All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1035 and 2.
MARTIN C. CARLSON
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
AND NOW, this 2ih day of July, 2009, the State Board of Psychology approves and adopts the foregoing Consent Agreement and incorporates the terms of paragraph 6, which shall constitute the Board's Order and is now issued in resolution of this matter.
This Order shall take effect immediately.
BUREAU OF PROFESSIONAL AND
STATE BOARD OF PSYCHOLOGY
Karen W. Edelstein, Psy.D.
|File Nos.||06-63-08200,08-63-01170, and 08-63-10481|
|Date of Mailing:||7/29/09|
|For the Commonwealth:||Bridget K. Guilfoyle
P. O. Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
|For Respondent:||Allan M. Tepper, Esquire
1429 Walnut Street
This page was updated on July 26, 2011.