Mississippi physician convicted of fraudulently referring patients to hospice

Cleveland, Miss.-based physician Scott Nelson, MD, was convicted April 4 for referring and certifying patients to hospice who were not terminally ill, according to the Justice Department.

From 2009-14, Dr. Nelson was a medical director for hospice organizations in Mississippi, and at least four of the hospice owners associated with Dr. Nelson had been convicted of healthcare fraud prior to his trial.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, hospice employees would transport patients to Dr. Nelson's office, where he would claim to be their primary physician and refer them to hospice. In almost all cases, the patients had no idea they were being placed in hospice.

Dr. Nelson also certified patients as terminally ill when they were not and signed medical records allowing hospice owners to fraudulently bill Medicare.

Dr. Nelson received approximately $442,000 in medical director fees from those hospices. Hospice owners received more than $15 million in Medicare funds based on his patient referrals and certifications

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