Preferred Family Healthcare, its behavioral health businesses at the center of a sprawling public corruption scandal, issued a news release today again emphasizing it was endeavoring to cleanse itself of past associations.

It issued this news release:


Preferred Family Healthcare (PFH) continues to cooperate with government authorities regarding investigations into the alleged misdeeds of several former Alternative Opportunities (AO) leaders and employees.

We have been aware that additional actions by government authorities were likely and are continuing to support efforts to hold accountable those who violated the law. While each step in this ongoing process has been difficult, it is progress — turning the page on these past actions and toward the strong future we see providing the high-quality services to clients for which we are known.

As we move forward, we are further cultivating a culture of compliance while we work hand in hand with caregivers to deliver our critical services.

A guilty plea yesterday by PFH’s former chief clinical officer, Keith Nobles, was the latest in a list that seems likely to grow given allegations of bribery and other crimes listed against others as yet uncharged. Four former Arkansas legislators have been charged in crimes related to PFH — Jon Woods, Micah Neal, Eddie Cooper and Hank Wilkins. Jeremy Hutchinson has been charged with unrelated crimes, but implicated in what has been described as kickbacks by another former PFH executive, Rusty Cranford, who’s pleaded guilty. A lobbyist for PFH from Philadelphia and a former accountant in Springfield, Mo., later a suicide victim, also have pleaded guilty.  Three former executives have been fired and they turn up, though not specifrically named, in voluminous allegations of illegal spending by PFH. They have not been charged. A top official of an affiliate in Batesville faces state charges.

PFH does business in four other states, tens of millions annually in Medicaid and other federally financed programs. It is shutting down remaining operations in Arkansas next month, having lost Medicaid program eligibility. It has been unable to find a buyer for its more than 40 operations around the state. A spokesman said yesterday they once employed as many as 500 in Arkansas.