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Two Iowa mental health counselors lose their license to practice

KMTV 3 News Now
KMTV 3 News Now
 2022-07-04
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The Iowa Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Professional Licensure handles administrative duties for 19 of the state’s professional licensing boards.

A mental health counselor from Fort Dodge has agreed to the indefinite suspension of her license due to allegations of improper conduct with a client.

Heather Sayer, who practiced in the Fort Dodge area and now lives in Colorado, was charged by the Iowa Board of Behavioral Science with failure to comply with regulations related to “nonprofessional interactions or relationships” with clients.

The board alleged that at some unspecified time and location, Sayer in some way failed to “establish and maintain boundaries” with a client.

Sayer can apply for reinstatement of her license at any time.

In an unrelated case, the board has also agreed to accept Jill Coleman’s voluntary surrender of her license.

Earlier this year, the board charged Coleman, a mental health counselor from Creston, with being criminally convicted of an offense that directly related to the duties and responsibilities of the profession.

State records indicate Coleman served as the director of Coleman Counseling in Eagle Grove before the company was dissolved in 2020.

According to court records, Coleman was charged in late 2020 with felony fraudulent practices, felony identity theft and misdemeanor tampering with records.

Wright County prosecutors alleged that between 2018 and 2019, Coleman created 49 psychiatric diagnostic records that falsely indicated counseling services had been provided to an individual by another practitioner. Coleman then submitted the records to Medicaid along with billing statements to secure reimbursement for those services. The bills were allegedly submitted in the name of another practitioner due to restrictions that had previously been placed on Coleman’s ability to bill Medicaid for services.

Late last year, prosecutors dismissed the two felony charges and Coleman pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of tampering with records. She agreed to pay a fine of $855 and serve one year of probation. The court also ordered Coleman to pay restitution in an amount to be determined at some future date.

According to the Board of Behavioral Science, that was not the first time Coleman has been accused of such an offense. In 2016, the board alleged, she was convicted of tampering with records related to the profession and received a deferred judgment from the court.

Because of that judgment, the case was expunged from publicly available court records, so the details of the 2017 case are not known.

As a result of that 2016 conviction, the board placed Coleman’s license on probation for two years. As part of the recent settlement agreement in which Coleman agreed to voluntarily surrender her license, she is now barred from ever applying for reinstatement of the license.

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