A few weeks ago, the Department of Justice announced a $12 Million settlement it reached with Hospice of Arizona LC, American Hospice Management LLC and American Hospice Management Holdings LLC.
In order for hospice care to be reimbursed by Medicare, patients are required to have a life expectancy of, at most, six months. Medicare patients admitted to hospices do not receive treatments to cure their diseases; instead, they receive treatment to provide comfort and relief from the symptoms of a terminal illness.
The qui tam lawsuit, filed against the companies in 2010, accused the defendants of submitting false claims to Medicare for patients who did not need to be admitted to the Hospice of Arizona. Additionally, they were accused of submitting false claims by overbilling Medicare for some of the hospice’s services.
Ellen Momeyer, the whistleblower in this action, was a former Hospice of Arizona employee. Pursuant to the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, whistleblowers or relators can receive up to 30% of a settlement. In this case, Momeyer will receive $1.8 million (approximately 15%) as her relator’s share of the settlement.
Medicare fraud is a serious and rampant problem that requires the help of courageous whistleblowers to root it out. For more information on Medicare fraud and filing a potential whistleblower action, contact the attorneys at Tycko & Zavareei today.