Hospice company settles false claims allegations

BALTIMORE (AP) -  

Federal prosecutors say a hospice company in Arizona has agreed to pay $12 million to settle allegations that the company submitted Medicare claims for patients who did not have a terminal prognosis of six months or less.
 
The U.S. Attorney's Office for Maryland said Wednesday that Hospice of Arizona L.C. and related entities had reached the settlement. The company denied the allegations.
 
According to a complaint filed by an employee of Hospice of Arizona in February 2010 in U.S. District Court in Maryland, the hospice submitted the allegedly false claims from 2002 to 2010.
 
Prosecutors say the hospice pressured staff to meet admissions and census targets and adopted procedures that delayed and discouraged discharges of ineligible patients.
 
The whistle-blowing employee will receive $1.8 million. 
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