U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney Benjamin Mizer said the non-profit hospice care provider, Covenant Hospice, will pay $10 million for overcharging Medicare, Tricare and Medicaid for services. | U.S. Department of Justice

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - A nonprofit hospice care provider will pay $10.1 million to the federal government for overcharging Medicare, Tricare and Medicaid, Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Mizer said this week.

Covenant Hospice, Inc. provides hospice care for patients in Southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

“The hospice benefits provided by federal health care programs are intended to provide comfort and care to patients nearing the end of life,” Mizer said. “We will continue to ensure that these benefits are used for their intended purposes.”

Between January 2009 and December 2010 the federal government claims that Covenant Hospice billed federal health care programs for general inpatient care even though it should have been billed at the routine home care level.

Under the settlement, the federal government will receive about $9.6 million, and the states of Alabama and Florida will receive a combined $553,225 for the over billing.

“Careful and correct claims for reimbursement from critical federal health care programs are essential to the health of our economy,” said U.S. Attorney Pamela C. Marsh of the Northern District of Florida. “Those public servants who worked hard to investigate the conduct and obtain this settlement deserve our deepest gratitude. We will continue our efforts to ensure that federal dollars intended for compassionate care and legitimate patient needs are protected.”

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