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U.S. Department of Justice Sues AseraCare Hospice for Fraudulently Billing Medicare

The U.S. Department of Justice last week announced that it filed a complaint in a whistleblower lawsuit against AseraCare Hospice, a for-profit organization with 65 hospice providers in 19 states. The complaint alleges that AseraCare violated the False Claims Act when it knowingly enrolled in hospice care individuals who were not terminally ill with a prognosis of six months or less left to live.  AseraCare fraudulently collected millions of dollars in Medicare payments by enrolling patients who were ineligible for hospice care.

If the Justice Department succeeds in proving that AseraCare knowingly submitted false claims, the federal government could recover from AseraCare three times the amount of the false claims submitted, and $5,500 to $11,000 in penalties for each claim. This lawsuit joins another whistleblower lawsuit originally filed in 2009 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama by former employees, Dawn Richardson and Marsha Brown.   If the Justice Department prevails, Richardson and Brown would be entitled to receive a portion of the money recovered.

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