Office of the United States Attorney, Ann Birmingham Scheel
District of Arizona
May 31, 2012
ARIZONA HOSPICE TO PAY $3.7 MILLION TO RESOLVE FALSE CLAIMS ALLEGATIONS
PHOENIX - Hospice Family Care, Inc., has agreed to pay the United States $3,700,000 to resolve civil allegations that the company violated the federal False Claims Act by submitting false bills to Medicare.
“Medicare funds are intended to benefit seniors and individuals with certain disabilities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel. “Not only do those who abuse the Medicare Program take money that is meant to help those who truly need assistance, but they also contribute to higher health care costs and rising taxes. The False Claims Act is one of the federal government’s most powerful tools to fight fraud and abuse in taxpayer funded programs. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to use all of the tools at its disposal as we work with our investigative partner agencies to hold accountable those who attempt to profit from Medicare through false claims and abuse.”
“Our agents used sophisticated data analysis techniques to investigate Hospice Family Care’s activities,” said Glenn R. Ferry, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OIG-HHS) region covering Arizona. “Health providers planning to submit false claims to government programs are warned that investigators will be using these data mining tools alongside traditional techniques to root out fraud.”
The settlement agreement resolves allegations that Hospice Family Care and its co-owners, Nancy Smith and Nancy Turner, submitted claims for payment to Medicare for patients who were either completely or partially hospice ineligible or were provided a higher level of hospice care than was necessary or allowable. Under the settlement agreement, both Smith and Turner agreed to be excluded from Medicare, Medicaid, and all other federal health care programs for seven years, effective immediately.
The investigation was conducted by OIG-HHS. The case was handled by Lon R. Leavitt, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
RELEASE NUMBER: 2012-135(Hospice_Family_Care)
# # #For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az