CEO/owner of Hospice will pay $200,000 to Settle False Claims

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Original story posted on: November 26, 2012

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A South Carolina hospice CEO/owner will pay $200,000 out of his own pocket as part of an almost $1.3 million settlement of false claims allegations.

Daniel J. Burton and Harmony Care Hospice, which will pay the rest of the settlement, submitted false claims for patients who did not meet the hospice requirement of having a terminal prognosis of six months or less, according to the Justice Department.

Two whistleblowers, former Harmony Care Hospice employees, will share almost $245,000, the Justice Department stated.

Harmony Care Hospice will enter into a corporate integrity agreement to address allegations raised in the qui tam complaint, the Justice Department stated.

In other fraud news:

  • A registered nurse and former program coordinator pleaded guilty in connection with a scheme involving partial hospitalization program (PHP) services. Working as a nurse in Florida and North Carolina, John Thoen admitted patients to Health Care Solutions Network for PHP services when they were not eligible then fabricated records to support fraudulent billing, the Justice Department stated. Alexandra Haynes, an intake specialist in Miami, fabricated patient records. In North Carolina, where she was a program coordinator, Haynes conducted group therapy sessions and fabricated corresponding notes. She was not licensed to provide mental health services there. The two are part of a larger investigation that has led to charges against nine defendants.
  • A Detroit-area registered nurse will spend 30 months in prison plus pay almost $451,000 in restitution after being paid to sign medical documentation for Physicians Choice Home Health Care, which billed Medicare for home health services that were never provided, according to the Justice Department. Anthony Parkman was paid about $150 for each false file he signed. Parkman was part of a larger scheme in which Medicare paid $13.8 million to four home health agencies he worked for. Nine co-defendants pleaded guilty, three are fugitives and six await trial.

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Recovery auditor Connolly posted issues this week for a variety of provider types.

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About the Author

Karen Long is the editor of Physician Solutions for DecisionHealth and oversees products that relate to fraud and abuse and HIPAA compliance for physician offices and home health agencies, and accreditation compliance for hospitals. In her almost four years at DecisionHealth, Karen also has been the compliance editor and a reporter for Home Health Line, nation's leading independent authority on home healthcare business, regulation and reimbursement.

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KLong@decisionhealth.com

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