Hospice provider fraudulently cycled patients through nursing homes, hospices, whistle-blower suit claims

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OIG collected more than $5.8 billion in recoveries for FY 2013, makes hospice recommendations
OIG collected more than $5.8 billion in recoveries for FY 2013, makes hospice recommendations
Hospice company AseraCare allegedly defrauded Medicare by cycling beneficiaries through nursing homes and hospice care, according to a whistle-blower suit announced this week.

AseraCare, which is owned by the skilled nursing and hospice services provider Golden Living, allegedly pressured hospice workers to recruit as many hospice patients as possible, Kaiser Health News reported. The company allegedly set high recruitment targets and rewarded employees who met or exceeded the targets. One former AseraCare regional sales director says he was placed on a “correction action plan” for failing to admit 33 new patients per week, according to the suit.

The U.S. Department of Justice, which joined the whistleblower complaint, said AseraCare “knowingly submitted false claims to Medicare for hospice care for patients who were not terminally ill.” The government is asking for statutory damages as well as reimbursement for what it paid out in Medicare costs.

AseraCare has denied the allegations, saying it followed all hospice rules around Medicare.

The lawsuit was filed in December in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.