Hospice company pays $12 Million to settle whistleblower case under False Claims Act

Hospice of Arizona and its related entity American Hospice Management LLC and parent corporation American Hospice Management Holdings LLC have agreed to pay $12 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act for submitting false claims to Medicare for ineligible hospice services. The Medicare hospice benefit is available to patients with a life expectancy of six months or less if their disease runs its normal course. Patients admitted to hospice stop receiving care to cure their illness and instead receive medical care focused on providing them with relief from symptoms, pain and the stress of terminal illness. The case against the companies asserted that they billed for patients who did not need end of life care or for billing at a higher reimbursement rate than that to which it was entitled. The whistleblower is former employee Ellen Momeyer who will receive $1.8 million as part of the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act in which a private citizen can bring suit on behalf of the government and share in any recovery. Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.