Woman posing as her therapist wife counseled patients online, investigations found

A person made an unsettling discovery on social media in February 2023 – the woman she’d been seeing for online therapy sessions wasn’t actually a therapist.

Instead, the woman, identified in public records by her initials “TR,” had been masquerading as her wife, Peggy Randolph, then a licensed clinical social worker, according to an investigative report from the Florida Department of Health.

Randolph, who provided services to clients in Tennessee and Florida for her employer Brightside Health, helped her wife conduct online therapy sessions using her credentials while Randolph was seeing other patients in person, the report and a settlement agreement between Randolph and the state of Tennessee detailed.

But Randolph’s wife was not licensed or trained to provide any sort of counseling services,” according to a settlement agreement between Randolph and the state of Tennessee.

The couple’s “coordinated effort” to defraud patients came to light when Randolph was taking bereavement leave after her wife died, the documents stated.

CNN tracked down an online obituary for 58-year-old Tammy Heath-Randolph that lists Peggy Randolph as the deceased’s wife. Heath-Randolph (TR) died on February 11, 2023, just weeks before a patient complained to Brightside.

Randolph “denies knowing” Heath-Randolph had been conducting therapy sessions using her Brightside Health Therapist Portal log-in credentials, the settlement agreement states.

However, Brightside’s internal investigation revealed Randolph had provided those credentials to her wife who “was seeing all her patients and had been for a long time,” according to the Florida report.

Randolph also received compensation for the sessions her wife conducted, the settlement agreement states.

When she was presented with a photograph showing Heath-Randolph with one of her clients, she acknowledged that she was her wife.

Brightside Health took “swift and decisive action” once it learned of the breach, a statement provided to CNN.

“We’re extremely disappointed that a single provider was willing to violate the trust that Brightside and, most importantly, her patients had placed in her,” the statement said.

The impacted patients were fully reimbursed, Brightside Health said. The company also revoked Randolph’s access to its software systems immediately after receiving notice of the incident and ended her contract, it said.

Randolph worked for the company from January 2021 until February 2023, according to the settlement, which says she was “assigned to provide therapy sessions to hundreds of clients.” It’s unclear how many patients were seen by her wife during that time period.

In an emailed statement, Brightside spokesperson Hannah Changi told KFF Health News that Brightside couldn’t say how many patients were seen by Randolph’s wife “due to the nature of the incident and ongoing legal proceedings.”

Randolph gave up her license voluntarily in both Florida and Tennessee and in May was ordered by the state of Tennessee to pay a $1,000 civil penalty within 12 months.

CNN has reached out to Randolph for comment.

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