While hospice fraud in Riverside County and elsewhere in Southern California is not new, California has been attempting to crack down on hospice fraud over the last year. Indeed, according to a report from ProPublica, hospice fraud has been drawing more attention recently, and it is linked to nursing home negligence and abuse throughout the country. What is hospice fraud, and how does it relate to residents of nursing homes receiving negligent or substandard care? Our experienced Riverside County nursing home neglect attorneys can provide you with more information.
Learning More About Hospice Fraud
What is hospice fraud, exactly? And what is the relationship between hospice fraud and allegations of nursing home negligence? In short, as the ProPublica report explains, hospice facilities can receive money from Medicare (or Medi-Cal in California) for patients at the hospice facility. You might be thinking that this makes perfect sense, but consider this: the Hospice Foundation of America explains that hospice is a specific type of “medical care for people with an anticipated life expectancy of 6 months or less when cure is not an option and the focus shifts to symptom management and quality of life.” If hospice is only for people who will not get better, why are nursing home residents with broken bones or other temporary conditions and injuries moving into hospices?
The answer to this question concerns hospice fraud and nursing home neglect. The ProPublica report points to a highly harmful practice where nursing homes convince families to move their elderly loved ones into hospices for “treatment,” emphasizing that the hospice will be completely free through Medicare or Medi-Cal. Often, nursing homes receive kickbacks from hospices when they help move residents from a nursing home into hospice care. Yet what families do not realize is that hospices do not provide medical care to treat a patient or help them recover. Instead, nursing home residents with treatable conditions end up moving into these facilities and not receiving the care they need to get better. As a result, seniors who could have improved health-wise end up dying in the hospice because of untreated health conditions or injuries.
Recent Hospice Fraud Case
To highlight the prevalence of hospice fraud, consider a recent California case. In January 2023, the former owner of three California hospice agencies was sentenced to more than two years in prison for healthcare fraud and receiving kickbacks, according to an article in Hospice News.
The ProPublica report points to other recent cases that are similar, including both criminal and civil cases concerning hospice fraud. It also emphasizes that California recently “placed a moratorium on new hospices” due to concerns about hospice fraud and the thousands of for-profit hospices currently operating throughout the state. If you have any concerns about an elderly loved one’s care, or you believe a nursing home is attempting to move someone you love into a hospice for the wrong reasons, it is important to seek legal advice.
Contact a Riverside County Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer
Do you have questions or concerns about nursing home abuse or neglect, particularly as it may relate to hospice fraud? One of our experienced Riverside County nursing home negligence lawyers can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm for more information.
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