Nurse pleads guilty in $60M fraud scheme that allegedly involved accelerating patient deaths

A nursing supervisor for Novus, a shuttered hospice provider in Frisco, Texas, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud for her role in a $60 million scheme that federal prosecutors say involved fatally overdosing patients for profit, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Jessica Love, RN, served as Novus' nurse case manager and regional director before the company shut down several years ago. She was one of 16 defendants charged in the healthcare fraud scheme in February 2017.

According to court documents, Ms. Love and her co-conspirators, including Novus' owner and CEO Bradley Harris, allegedly enrolled as many people as possible in hospice care, even patients who were not eligible for the services. Once the patients were enrolled, they were given around-the-clock care, which Medicare reimbursed at a higher rate than routine care. If hospice patients were in continuous care for too long, Novus workers allegedly overmedicated them so they would die.

Ms. Love was allegedly involved in the fatal overmedication of two patients, according to the report.

Documents from Ms. Love and another Novus employee, who also pleaded guilty in the case, stated Mr. Harris instructed "nurses to intentionally overmedicate beneficiaries with medications such as hydromorphone and morphine with the intent to hasten their deaths," according to the report.

Mr. Harris has denied any wrongdoing. "We are not aware of any evidence that shows that Mr. Harris caused, hastened or otherwise contributed to the death of the hospice patients being treated by Novus," Chris Knox, an attorney representing Mr. Harris, told The Dallas Morning News.

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