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Hospice 9 articles

Hospice Whistleblowers Ask Appeals Court to Hear Medicare Fraud Case

A group of whistleblowers is asking the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to revive their False Claims Act lawsuit accusing a New Jersey hospice provider of falsifying patient records to make them appear eligible for end-of-life care. Four former employees of Care Alternatives Inc. of Cranford, New Jersey, now known as Ascend Hospice, filed the whistleblower lawsuit in 2008, alleging the company pressured them and others to alter patients’ medical records to satisfy Medicare’s criteria for hospice eligibility. The whistleblowers claimed that the company rewarded employees who complied with the alleged activity with bonuses. Several False Claims Act lawsuits have ... Read More

$1 Billion Whistleblower Case Against Hospice Provider Unsealed

A whistleblower lawsuit against one of the nation’s largest hospice care providers was unsealed last week after the federal government declined to intervene. The lawsuit, filed in 2010 against HCR ManorCare by a former regional director of operations under whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, alleges the company engaged in a “corporate-wide pattern of conduct that has resulted in the submission of thousands of false claims” and payments of “millions of dollars” to Medicare for patients who were not terminally ill. When a terminally ill Medicare patient enters hospice care, Medicare stops covering traditional medical care designed to improve ... Read More

Hospice groups settle whistleblower suits

Two subsidiaries of the Compassionate Care Hospice Group have agreed to settle separate False Claims Act lawsuits filed by whistleblowers who claim the companies defrauded Medicare and other federal health care programs. The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Georgia said that Compassionate Care Hospice of Atlanta will pay the U.S. $2.4 million to resolve allegations that it paid illegal kickbacks to five doctors in exchange for patient referrals and certifying patients as eligible for hospice services when they weren’t. Compassionate Care Hospice of Atlanta provided payments to a medical director in return for referrals and also created ... Read More

Whistleblower Alleges Gentiva Defrauded Medicare

A whistleblower lawsuit against Gentiva Health Services unsealed July 10 alleges the company defrauded Medicare by misclassifying home health care patients as hospice patients in order to boost reimbursements. Alan Stewart, an Area Vice President with Gentiva, filed the complaint in 2014 under whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. He alleges Gentiva launched a “new financial plan” in 2013 that involved recoding many patients receiving home health care as hospice patients, even when those patients did not require hospice services. According to McKnight’s, more than half of the patients who migrated from home health care to hospice care were ... Read More

Tennessee-Based Hospice Provider Seeks Dismissal of Whistleblower Lawsuit

Tennessee-based hospice care provider Caris Healthcare has asked a federal judge to toss a whistleblower’s False Claims Act lawsuit alleging the company admitted and retained patients who were not terminally ill, collecting millions in false Medicare claims for several years of unnecessary care. The complaint, filed on behalf of the U.S. government in 2014 by whistleblower Barbara Hinkle, was unsealed in June after the federal government chose to intervene in the suit, effectively taking over its litigation. Government prosecutors chose to pursue some of the lawsuit’s claims, and the others were voluntarily dismissed. Ms. Hinkle, a former nurse who worked ... Read More

Hospice Provider Pays U.S. $18 Million To Settle False Claims Act Allegations

A Minnesota-based hospice care provider has agreed to pay the U.S. $18 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by billing Medicare for end-of-life care to patients who were not eligible to receive Hospice care because they weren’t terminally ill. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), a group of former employees of Evercare Hospice, now known as Optum Palliative and Hospice Care (Palliative), sued the company under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, alleging it knowingly billed Medicare for hospice care that patients didn’t need. When a terminally ill Medicare patient enters ... Read More

Judge Dismisses Whistleblower Case Against Hospice Provider; Appeal Likely

A federal judge in Alabama has dismissed a False Claims Act lawsuit against a national chain of hospice providers, finding the complaint staked its allegations of Medicare fraud on the testimony of one expert witness. The U.S. Department of Justice, which joined the suit, is expected to appeal the decision. AseraCare, one of the largest for-profit hospice providers in the U.S., was sued in 2012 by a whistleblower who claimed the company certified patients who weren’t terminally ill as eligible for hospice care. Federal prosecutors investigated the allegations by analyzing 233 random cases. It found that more than half of ... Read More

Whistleblower lawsuit alleges massive hospice and Medicare fraud scheme

The trial of a whistleblower lawsuit against AseraCare, one of the largest for-profit hospice providers in the U.S., started in Birmingham, Ala. Monday, with plaintiffs’ lawyers expected to give opening arguments in the case that accuses the company of fraudulently billing U.S. taxpayers nearly $70 million for the care of patients who weren’t really dying. As egregious as those allegations sound, federal prosecutors say the larger issue is that AseraCare “caused hundreds of non-terminally ill patients to prematurely give up seeking a cure so it could bill Medicare for hospice,” AL.com reported. AseraCare operates about 60 hospice facilities in Alabama ... Read More

Hospira recalls mislabeled IV solutions

Pharmaceutical company Hospira Inc., has issued dozens of recalls in the past year for contaminated IV solutions and faulty infusion pumps. Its latest recall involves bags of magnesium sulfate in 5 percent dextrose mislabeled with the primary container barcode for another drug, heparin sodium in sodium chloride. Magnesium sulfate injections are given to patients to treat heart rhythm problems, asthma, and to treat pre-eclampsia or to prevent preterm birth in pregnant women. Heparin sodium is a blood thinner used to treat various heart conditions and treat or prevent blood clots. If the error is not detected by health care professionals, and heparin ... Read More