A school superintendent in Elwood, Indiana, has been charged with several infractions, including felony insurance fraud, after she took a student to urgent care and checked him in under her son’s name, CBS 4 reports. The county prosecutor told the Washington Post that she has since been put on a pretrial diversion program; if she is not charged with anything else in the next year, the charges will be removed from her record.
Casey Smitherman reportedly took a 15-year-old student to urgent care on January 9, after he failed to show up for school; she told RTV6 that she was afraid he had strep throat. The Post notes that the first clinic they visited refused to treat the student; it was at a second clinic that she used her son’s name. The two later picked up an Amoxicillin prescription at a CVS for the student, which was also filed under Smitherman’s son’s name. According to CBS, the student did not have health insurance of his own.
Smitherman told TV reporters, “I would love to go back to that moment and redo it. In that moment, I just was really worried. I knew he had strep, I’m a mom, and I knew how dangerous that was for him. And I was worried, and I wanted to get him treatment.”
She has apparently helped the student before, by buying him clothes and helping clean his house; she noted that she did not alert child services about his illness because she was afraid he would be placed in a foster system.
According to Fox59, the Elwood School Board released the following statement:
Dr. Smitherman has tirelessly worked for the best interests of all students in Elwood Community Schools since she was hired. She made an unfortunate mistake, but we understand that it was out of concern for this child’s welfare. We know she understands what she did was wrong, but she continues to have our support.
In November 2018, NPR reported that the number of children without health insurance rose in 2017; approximately 3.9 million minors do not have insurance. “The nation is going backwards on insuring kids and it is likely to get worse,” said Joan Alker, the executive director of Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families. States that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act saw three times as many uninsured children as states that did.