Serenity Hospice To Pay Over $581,000 To Resolve False Claims Act Litigation
Savannah, GA: Serenity Hospice Care, LLC of Dublin, Georgia, along with an affiliate corporation, has agreed to pay the United States a total of $581,504.46 to settle allegations that it submitted or caused the submission of false claims to the Medicare program for certain patients who were not eligible for hospice under Medicare regulations. The Medicare hospice benefit is available to patients who elect palliative care (care designed to relieve the pain, symptoms, or stress of terminal illness) instead of curative care (care designed to cure an illness or condition), and who have a life expectancy of six months or less if their illness runs its normal course.
The civil settlement resolves allegations that were originally part of a lawsuit filed under the qui tam (or “whistleblower”) provisions of the False Claims Act, in which a private party (known as the “relator”) can file an action on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of any recovery. As a result of the settlement, the relator will receive a share of the settlement proceeds.
United States Attorney Edward Tarver stated, “This case demonstrates that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia is committed to preserving the integrity of the Medicare program. The settlement helps ensure that the Medicare hospice benefit is used appropriately for patients who truly qualify.”
The case was investigated by Special Agent David J. Graupner, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and Investigator Kimberly Reinken of the United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Georgia. The United States was represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Edgar D. Bueno and Charles W. Mulaney. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.