Couple Sentenced After Reports of False Alzheimer's Diagnoses

Patients said they planned the end of their lives, quitting their jobs or taking a final trip
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 29, 2023 4:45 PM CDT
Couple Sentenced After Reports of False Alzheimer's Diagnoses
The Toledo Clinic Cognitive Center in Toledo, Ohio, on Thursday.   (Jeremy Wadsworth/The Blade via AP)

A former director of an Ohio memory-loss clinic accused by dozens of patients of falsely diagnosing them with Alzheimer's disease has been sentenced on federal fraud charges, along with her physician husband. Sherry-Ann Jenkins received nearly six years in prison on Tuesday, while Oliver Jenkins got a 41-month sentence. The couple was convicted in March on conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and health care fraud charges after being indicted in May 2020. The US Justice Department has said Sherry-Ann Jenkins was not trained or licensed to provide any medical care but presented herself as a doctor and billed patients for unneeded treatments, the AP reports.

The indictment did not directly accuse the couple of falsely diagnosing her patients, but more than 60 people filed lawsuits beginning in 2017 that said Sherry-Ann Jenkins lied and told them they had Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. The patients said they spent months undergoing treatment while planning out their final years, thinking they would die soon. Some quit their jobs or took one last special trip. One killed himself; others said they considered suicide. The patients who sued the couple and the clinic resolved the cases out of court. Nearly all of those diagnosed by Sherry-Ann Jenkins began seeing her after suffering traumatic brain injuries or worsening cognitive issues.

Sherry-Ann Jenkins operated the Toledo Clinic Cognitive Center through the Toledo Clinic, a multispecialty medical center, for slightly more than two years, according to court records, per the AP. She would diagnose and treat patients and order tests despite having no training or qualifications, prosecutors said. She also billed patients for treatments that weren't medically necessary, including memory exercises and using coconut oil to treat cognitive disorders, they said. Her husband, an ear, nose, and throat doctor and a former partner in the Toledo Clinic, signed off on the tests and was listed as the referring physician on billing even though he was rarely at the clinic and never saw the patients, prosecutors said.

(Read more Alzheimer's diagnosis stories.)

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