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.