The Law Firm of Piacentile, Stefanowski & Malherbe LLP

Hospice CEO Sentenced to Prison for Over a Decade for a $60 Million Fraud Scheme

Bradley Harris, former head of Texas-based Novus Hospice, was sentenced to 13 years and 3 months in federal prison for his role in defrauding Medicare and Medicaid for millions in false healthcare claims. In addition, Texas Judge Barbara Lynn ordered him to pay around $28 million in restitution. Per U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham, “this defendant systematically lied to federal healthcare programs, dolling out powerful pain medication without the physician oversight that Novus’ patients deserved.”

The hospice fraud scheme went from 2012 to 2016 and was later exposed in 2017 when a grand jury indicted sixteen individuals. This fraud scheme involved billing for hospice services that were not provided, were not directed by a medical professional, or patients were not eligible for hospice service. Mr. Harris also used blank, pre-signed controlled substance prescriptions to doll out potent drugs without physician input. In addition, he admitted that two of his coconspirators frequently certified that his hospice patients faced terminal illness without actually examining the patient in person as is required by Medicare and received kickbacks of $150 for each false order they signed.

Even after Medicare & Medicaid Services suspended payments upon credible allegations of fraud of Novus Hospice, Mr. Harris and his co-conspirators transferred their patients from Novus to a new company to continue the scam. Ten of Mr. Harris’s co-conspirators were found guilty at trial, and some were sentenced to up to 10 years in federal prison in addition to their restitution orders. It is known that Government prosecutors are putting up a fight against hospice fraud and have pledged to continue to enforce their strict laws against it. Whistleblowers can play a big role in bringing down this type of perpetrator who abuses patients in their most vulnerable stage.

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