The United States has filed suit against Vitas Hospice Services LLC and Vitas Healthcare Corporation for the submission of false claims for hospice care. Vitas provides services in 18 states and is the largest for-profit hospice chain in the country. Medicare hospice benefits are available to patients who are terminally ill and whose life expectancy is 6 months or less.
As alleged in the Complaint, Vitas submitted claims for hospice care that either was not provided or was not medically necessary. Vitas employees received bonuses based upon the numbers of patients that they enrolled in the program and the length of treatment to be provided. The government’s investigation found that many patients who received hospice care were not terminally ill. Between 2004 and 2011, Vitas’ billings for hospice care were 6 times the national average.
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