Greed Hits an All-Time Low: Hospices Abuse System to Cash in on Medicare Payments

Few people want to talk about hospice and there is only one thing the general public needs to know about it as a rule: when end-of-life care is needed, the compassionate and gentle care you or a loved one may receive from an experienced hospice worker can truly make a difficult situation more bearable.

So, when you hear a story like this, it makes your skin crawl and your blood boil. Good Shepherd (the parent company for several hospice agencies) submitted bogus bills to Medicare to allegedly pay for hospice services provided to people who didn’t need hospice! In fact, these patients weren’t even terminally ill but the for-profit company, located in Oklahoma City thought it could balance its budget a little better on the back of the federal government.

Not so fast, Good Shepherd! The company recently agreed to pay $4 million to resolve the false claims allegations. The Justice Department’s Civil Division revealed that the hospice company, which provides services to patients with less than six months to live in Texas, Oklahoma and surrounding states, forced admissions staff to meet quotas and paid extra benefits to employees who worked to increase enrollment in the hospice facilities.

This case is particularly poignant because individuals in hospice programs are in no position to question the ethics of the companies providing
services. Neither are their loved ones who generally sign paperwork with the understanding that their dying relative will be kept comfortable until the end.

Therefore, this case send an important message to all families throughout the US: keep your eyes open when it comes to healthcare services you and your family receive. If you suspect foul play, speak up.

Contact an experienced whistleblower attorney at Begelman & Orlow, P. C.. We will listen to your claim and, if appropriate, work with you to assist the government in reclaiming damages that resulted from the fraudulent activity. If we succeed you, the “whistleblower” stand to recoup a percentage of those damages.

“Health care fraud puts profits above patients, and steals from taxpayers,” said U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson of the Western District of Missouri. “In this case, company whistleblowers alleged that patients received unnecessary hospice care while Good Shepherd engaged in illicit business practices to enrich itself at the public’s expense. Today’s settlement fairly resolves those issues and puts measures in place to prevent similar conduct in the future.”

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