April 5, 2013 — False Claims Act allegations filed in a lawsuit brought on the government’s behalf by whistleblower Ellen Momeyer, against Hospice of Arizona, L.C., have been settled for $12 million. Momeyer, who formerly worked for Hospice of Arizona, will receive $1.8 million for her share of the recovery. The qui tam provisions of the anti-fraud statute allow tipsters with knowledge of fraud against the government to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the government. In return for the government collaborators’ courage in coming forward, they are eligible to retain a portion of the government’s settlement or judgment in the case.
Medicare Fraud Allegations Against Arizona Hospice Provider Settled for $12 Million
Medicare provides a hospice benefit for patients expected to live no more than six months. Once a patient is admitted to hospice, the focus is no longer on finding a cure; instead the emphasis is on providing relief from the pain and stress caused by a terminal illness. Unscrupulous hospice providers sometimes admit patients who are ineligible or continue to treat patients who are no longer eligible for Medicare benefits.
Hospice of Arizona, American Hospice Management LLC, a related entity, and the companies’ parent corporation, American Hospice Management Holdings LLC, were all alleged to have submitted false claims to Medicare for ineligible hospice services. According to the Department of Justice, the alleged misconduct occurred from 2002 through 2010.
Hospice of Arizona and its related companies, alleged the government, pressured hospice staff to find and admit more patients who were Medicare beneficiaries and put into place procedures that discouraged staff from releasing Medicare patients from the program when it was clear that hospice services were no longer warranted. The practices led to the admission of patients who were ineligible and the submission of false and inflated claims to Medicare.
Medicare Fraud Reported by Insider Heath Care Professionals
As was true here, the government is frequently notified of Medicare fraud allegations by informants working for health care providers. Before stepping forward, government collaborators deserve to know their own rights. The whistleblower lawyers at Waters & Kraus provide tipsters with the aggressive legal representation they deserve. Contact us or call our Medicare fraud attorneys at 800.226.9880 to discuss how we can assist.