Hospice False Claims Case Helps Clarify Law

Following a trial in which a national hospice chain (AseraCare) was initially found to have submitted false claims, the Court ordered a new trial.  In making this rare order, the Court acknowledged that it had failed to provide the jury with proper instructions as to required findings for a false claim, including that the government must show an “objective falsehood,” and not a mere lack of supporting evidence; and that a mere “difference of opinion” between doctors, without more, could not support a false claim finding.  In the same order, the Court indicated it will reconsider granting summary judgment to the hospice and required the government to identify any evidence offered at trial that it believes would support a finding of “objective falsehood.” Continue Reading

ALJ Now Dismissing Hospice Appeals For Allegedly Insufficient Service On Beneficiary

In the last few years, we have seen a growing and alarming trend of administrative law judges (“ALJ”) dismissing appeals solely based on purported lack of service to the hospice patient (the Medicare beneficiary).  A search of recent decisions shows over 150 such cases at the Medicare Appeals Council starting in 2012 and continuing to the present.  Administrative law judges appear to increasingly be using these grounds as a basis for dismissal. Continue Reading

Sequestration Adjustments To Hospice Cap – See Examples

As quietly promised, Medicare Administrative Contractors (NGS, Palmetto) have begun issuing FY 2013 cap demands with sequestration (money never paid) included as a part of revenue, thus overstating the demands.  The demand letters themselves do not call out the sequestration adjustment.  To see the increase in revenue, and thus increase in demand, hospices need to review the cap calculation table. Continue Reading

Hospices To Self-Report Cap Without Sequestration; MACs To Capture Sequestration Later

This week, the Medicare Administrative Contractors issued instructions for hospices to self-report FY 2014 hospice cap (reports due this month, March 31, 2015).  These instructions include a spreadsheet substantially similar to what we offered earlier this year.  Hospices that fail to submit reports by March 31 may be subject to payment suspension until reports are completed.  Continue Reading

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