U.S. files False Claims Act complaint against largest for-profit hospice chain Vitas Healthcare

The United States Department of Justice has filed suit against Vitas Hospice Services LLC and Vitas Healthcare Corporation alleging they submitted false billings to Medicare for hospice services for ineligible patients. In addition, the government alleges the companies billed for services that were not actually provided and focused on maximizing reimbursement and disregarded the patient’s needs. Œ

Some of the conduct cited by the government included: Falsifying medical records to support determinations of hospice eligibility and using aggressive marketing tactics and expecting employees to increase the number of crisis care claims submitted to Medicare, without regard to whether such care was medically appropriate. Œ

Under the existing rules, to be eligible to participate in hospice care under Medicare, an individual must be certified as terminally ill, with medical prognosis that the patient’s life expectancy is six months or less if the illness runs its course. Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.