SouthernCare Inc., a subsidiary of Curo Health Services, recently agreed to pay $5.9 million to settle a federal whistleblower lawsuit alleging the company submitted unnecessary or insufficiently documented Medicare claims.
SouthernCare Inc. is a hospice provider that operates across nine states. It settled the allegations in December before the case could go to trial. The settlement served as yet another example of the intense scrutiny the federal government is placing on the healthcare industry as it focuses on curbing healthcare fraud across the nation.
The improper actions reportedly occurred from January 2009 through December 2014. Curo Health Services acquired SouthernCare in June 2014, and so most of the allegations took place before Curo assumed ownership of the company.
The case originated when a pair of whistleblowers who had worked for SouthernCare alleged the company provided hospice care to patients who were not eligible to receive it under Medicare. Some of these patients continued to receive these treatments for several years. Medicare’s requirements for end-of-life treatment requires patients to have a medical diagnosis of a condition that has a life expectancy of six months or fewer.
The two whistleblowers will share a $1.1 million cut of the recovery to reward them for the information they provided that led to the settlement.
Healthcare fraud costs the federal government billions of dollars every year, and the vast majority of cases cannot be uncovered without the assistance of whistleblowers. If you are aware of wrongdoing and fraud within a healthcare organization and have evidence of the scheme, work with an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.