By Mark Iandolo | Jul 15, 2016

DENVER (Legal Newsline) — The Department of Justice has announced Evercare Hospice and Palliative Care will pay $18 million after False Claims Act violation allegations involving claiming Medicare reimbursement for unnecessary services.

Hospice care is special end-of-life care for the terminally ill. When a terminally ill patient elects hospice, Medicare no longer covers treatment for improving health. Only patients with life expectancy under 6 months are eligible. Evercare allegedly ran a scheme focused on maximizing the number of patients it could bill Medicare for, without regard for whether the patients actually were terminally ill.

“Today’s settlement reflects the Justice Department’s continuing efforts to combat health care fraud and protect the nation’s elderly and most vulnerable citizens,” said principal deputy assistant attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Our seniors rely on the hospice program to provide them with quality care, dignity and respect when they are terminally ill and need end-of-life care.”

Mizer noted that it is therefore important to hold hospice providers accountable for unnecessary charges and services, stating that such abuses can threaten the senior citizen population.

“The Justice Department will continue to protect taxpayer dollars and ensure that this critical benefit is available for Medicare patients who truly need it,” Mizer said.

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