Former healthcare CEO pleads guilty to role in $60M fraudulent billing scheme

The former CEO of a Texas-based hospice agency pleaded guilty to defrauding Medicare and Medicaid programs through a $60 million scheme that federal prosecutors have said involved fatally overdosing patients for profit.

Bradley Harris, former CEO of Novus and Optimum Health Services, admitted to fraudulently billing Medicare and Medicaid for hospice services that weren't given or proper, the U.S. Justice Department said March 19. In his plea papers, Mr. Harris admitted to writing pain prescriptions without physician input. The scheme lasted from 2012 to 2016, according to Mr. Harris' plea papers.

Additionally, Mr. Harris admitted two physician co-conspirators frequently certified that his hospice patients faced terminal illness without completing any in-person examinations. The physicians were paid about $150 for each false order, he said.

Mr. Harris faces up to 14 years in prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 3.

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