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Massachusetts Whistleblower Lawsuits, Hospice Neglect, and Medicare Fraud

According to Bloomberg.com, Robert Rogers is suing his mother’s hospice provider for wrongful death and elder abuse. His 91-year-old mom Thelma Covington died of sepsis infection triggered by poor circulation and gangrene in September 2008. Just 5 days before her death, 11 maggots had to be removed from an open wound in her toe. When Rogers asked the hospice provider to move his mom to a hospital, he was told that it wasn’t their job to “prepare them to live.”

Vitas Healthcare, which is a unit of Chemed Corp. (CHE), is the largest hospice care company in a now $14 billion industry that has come under fire following a number of civil complaints and whistleblower lawsuits alleging fraud, including Medicare fraud and placing profit before patient care. In one whistleblower complaint, a former social worker for Gentiva Health Services Inc. (GTIV) hospices said that it was her job to make patients think that they were dying even though they weren’t. (The accusations are related to alleged incidents that took place before Gentiva took over the chain.) Thinking they no longer had use for medical care and rehabilitative care, these patients would likely have surrendered their right to receive “curative” measures.

Another whistleblower lawsuit that accused another hospice of fraudulently enrolling patients that didn’t need to be there was settled with SouthernCare for $24.7 million. Meantime, the federal government is currently investigating Vitas because of accusations that it has been involved in an “extensive scheme” to defraud Medicaid and Medicare of hundreds of millions of dollars through the doctoring of hospice certifications, falsifying of records, and billing for services that were never rendered.

If you are a hospice worker who would like to report fraud in the industry contact our Massachusetts whistleblower law firm today. Should you choose to turn whistleblower and file a complaint on the government’s behalf, you could end up receiving part of whatever amount is recovered.

Preparing Americans for Death Lets Hospices Neglect End of Life, Bloomberg, July 21, 2011
Concerns About Costs Rise With Hospices’ Use, NY Times, June 27, 2011

Related Web Resources:

Hospice Association of America

Hospice Medicare Fraud, Fraud Guide

Related Web Resources:
Whistleblowers Expose Medicare Fraud in the Hospice Industry, Boston Injury Lawyer, June 28, 2011
Pharmaceutical Fraud May Be Grounds for Filing a Massachusetts Whistleblower Lawsuit, Boston Injury Lawyer, July 23, 2011
LabCorp Settles for $49.5M Medicaid Fraud Lawsuit Filed by Whistleblower Hunter Laboratories, Boston Injury Lawyer, July 23, 2011
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