Feds crack down on hospice care Medicare fraud: 4 things to know

Federal officials are taking a closer look at potentially fraudulent practices among hospice and nursing home operators, reports The Columbus Dispatch.

Here are four things to know about the issue.

1. The Office of Inspector General found that some hospice providers, physicians and staff members have aggressively recruited patients, including some who aren't eligible for services, according to the article.

2. An analysis by The Wall Street Journal of Medicare billing records found that between 2005 and 2013, about 107,000 patients were in hospice for an average of nearly 1,000 days spread out over four or more calendar years. The cost to Medicare for those patients, who represent just 1.3 percent of Medicare's hospice patients, amounted to 14 percent of its overall hospice spending.

3. Some billing practices, including illegally charging for patients who are not near the end of life, have received attention from regulators, reports The Columbus Dispatch. Since 2010, the federal government has tried to recover more than $1 billion from hospices for such reasons, the report states.

4. Federal investigators also have been taking a closer look at hospice owners and executives for fraud, with more than 60 cases prosecuted in 2015, according to The Columbus Dispatch.



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