The United States has filed suit against Creekside Hospice II LLC, Skilled Healthcare Group Inc. (SKG), its holding company, and Skilled Healthcare LLC (SKH), an administrative services subsidiary of SKG that operates Creekside (collectively the Creekside entities), alleging that these entities knowingly submitted ineligible claims for hospice services and inflated claims for patient visits to government health care programs, the Justice Department announced today.
“The Medicare hospice benefit is intended to provide pain management and other palliative care to patients nearing the end of life, to help make them as comfortable as possible,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda for the Civil Division. “Too often, however, companies abuse this critical service by using aggressive marketing tactics to pressure patients who do not need, and may be ill-served, by these services in order to get higher reimbursements from the government. The department will take swift action to protect taxpayer dollars and make sure that Medicare benefits are available to those who truly need them.”
The Medicare and Medicaid hospice benefits are available for patients who elect palliative treatment (medical care focused on providing patients with relief from pain and stress) for a terminal illness and have a life expectancy of six months or less if their disease runs its normal course. When Medicare or Medicaid patients receive hospice services, they no longer receive services designed to cure their illnesses.
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