Does your back have room for another target?

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John O'Connor
John O'Connor

The press release is deadly serious:

“We are urging any employee of a skilled nursing facility, a nursing home or a rehab center to call us anytime at 866-714-6466 if they possess proof their employer is forcing them to provide unnecessary medical procedures to patients as a way to over bill Medicare,” it began.

Yikes! Even if you never gave a single RUG the benefit of the doubt, that's some pretty strong language.

The outfit behind this love note calls itself the Corporate Whistleblower Center, which in turn falls under the jurisdiction of America's Watchdog. And they aren't looking for nickels and dimes.

A spokesman for the organization told me they tend to target skilled care organizations where at least a half million dollars in fraud can be documented. But obviously, more is better. They also advise whistleblowers to avoid dealing with the press or government directly, as the resulting “reward” may be diminished. So I guess there's not really much doubt what's driving these doers of good deeds.

They even list the kinds of ideal skilled care workers they'd like to hear from. Here's a verbatim offering:

•  Rehab therapists who are being forced by their employer to provide therapy for Medicare patients at a skilled nursing facility or rehab center that are not medically necessary.

•  Skilled nursing facility or nursing home employees that are being forced to provide extremely expensive medical tests to Medicare patients that do not need the tests.

•  Skilled nursing or nursing home employees that have knowledge about their facility billing for Medicare patients wound care that did not happen.

•  Skilled nursing facility or nursing home employees that can prove their employer is billing Medicare as if their facility is fully staffed and compliant with Medicare's mandatory hours per day/per patient when in fact the facility is constantly short staffed and patients are not being adequately cared for.

If it's any consolation, they are equal opportunity recruiters. They are quite happy to land multimillion dollar rewards from hospitals, doctors and other providers as well.

And it's not just healthcare. They are also making a lot of hay off of contractors who play fast and loose with rules for minority and female representation.

It's an interesting business model. Basically, they get to don the white hats while doing some pretty oily things. But as Momma used to say, not everyone who wears respectable clothes is respectable.

Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.