Medical malpractice is on the rise in hospices. Once a place handled by nuns and caring volunteers, hospice care has become a multi-million dollar business handled by not so caring CEO’s who are often putting profits ahead of patient needs.
Recently the FBI busted Brad Harris the 30 year old owner and CEO of a Texas Hospice for instructing nurses to overdose patients. The Daily Beast writes that during the course of the investigation Harris texted one of the nurses “You need to make this patient go bye-bye”. Harris who has no medical education also texted another nurse to increase by four times the patient’s medication. In another conversation Harris said “if only this F*** would die”.
Because hospices are paid by the government through Medicaid and Medicare they receive a cap amount of $27,820.75 per patient. Therefore a patient who stays alive too long is not profitable for a hospice. The incentive is to have more patients with shorter stays. The FBI said Harris spoke about “finding patients who would die within 24hrs”.
Shannon Long a Texas woman who used the services of the hospice for her mother shared a terrifying experience on Facebook. She said an hour after her mother arrived there she was in a medically induced coma. The hospice suggested she immediately contact her close family to come to say goodbye and her mother died less than two days later.
A recent investigation by the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services also found that hospices have been inappropriately billing medicare for over $250 million every year for general inpatient care (GIP). The study found that one third of the patients who are receiving inpatient care only need a less expensive routine care in their home. The report also found that Medicare sometimes pays twice for the drugs because the drugs are paid under the patient Part D when they should be covered under the hospice daily payment rate. 85 % of the hospices also do not provide the required amount of care they are supposed to for general inpatient stay and in some cases provide poor-quality care. The complete report can be downloaded here.