Hope Hospice will pay $3.2 million to resolve accusations it knowingly submitted false claims for care provided to people not qualified for services. U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announced the settlement Wednesday and said the claims were linked to Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE services.
Founded in 1979, Hope Hospice is a subsidiary of Hope Healthcare, a not-for-profit organization that provides a variety of programs for the elderly in Lee, Hendry, and Glades counties, including hospice and palliative care services.
Hospice care is special end-of-life care for terminally ill patients intended to comfort the dying and patients admitted to hospice care. Such patients generally stop receiving coverage for traditional medical care intended to cure their illnesses and instead receive medical care focused on providing them with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a terminal illness. Medicare patients are considered to be terminally ill and hospice eligible when they have a life expectancy of six months or less if their illness runs its normal course.
The settlement resolves allegations that Hope Hospice knowingly submitted false claims to Medicare for hospice services for patients who were not terminally ill.