Hospice

News & Analysis as of

A&B Healthcare Week in Review

I. REGULATIONS, NOTICES, & GUIDANCE - On April 21, 2016, CMS issued a proposed rule entitled, “Medicare Program: FY 2017 Hospice Wage Index and Payment Rate Update and Hospice Quality Reporting Requirements.” This...more

A New Decision Under the False Claims Act Could be of Great Help to the Healthcare Industry

When it comes to the False Claims Act, the government usually wins, but a recent decision should provide the healthcare industry with a rare sigh of relief. The opinion in United States v. AseraCare Inc.1 acknowledges the...more

OIG Continues its Focus on GIP Abuse: What Hospice Providers Need to Know

On March 31, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report on hospice billing for general inpatient care (GIP). According to the OIG, hospices billed Medicare for...more

Court Dismisses Major False Claims Act Case Against Hospice Provider: Ruling Mere Difference of Medical Opinion is Insufficient...

On March 31, 2016, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in U.S. ex rel. Paradies v. AseraCare, Inc. dismissed a major False Claims Act case against a national hospice provider after ruling...more

OIG Examines Hospice Medicare Billing for General Inpatient Care

According to a recent OIG report, hospices billed inappropriately almost one-third of Medicare general inpatient care (GIP) stays in 2012, resulting in $268 million in inappropriate Medicare payments. The GIP level of care...more

Differences in Medical Opinion Are Not False Claims Act Violations

In an important win for hospice and other health care providers facing claims under the False Claims Act (FCA), a federal court in Alabama gave a summary judgment victory last week to hospice provider Aseracare Inc. Key...more

Health Care/Health Care Litigation Advisory: Update on the AseraCare False Claims Act Litigation – A Win for AseraCare and Health...

In November 2015, we published a client advisory on the closely watched AseraCare litigation and its potential impact on the falsity element under the False Claims Act (FCA). AseraCare involves allegations that a hospice...more

Good News, Providers: A Mere Difference of Medical Opinion Does Not A False Claim Make

FINALLY, some good news for providers related to false claims. In a very important Alabama case, a federal trial court granted summary judgment to AseraCare, Inc., in a False Claims Act action where it had been alleged that...more

OIG Releases Report Concluding that Hospices Overbilled Medicare by $268M in 2012

On March 30, 2016, the OIG released a report alleging that hospices billed one-third of hospice general inpatient care (GIP) stays inappropriately, costing Medicare $268 million in 2012....more

End Notes April 2016 - News for North Carolina’s Hospice and Palliative Care Community

Hospice Providers – Step Up to the “MIC” - After a period of relative calm on the audit front, many signs point to an increase in audit activity. According to the Program Integrity Section of the Division of Medical...more

District Court Deals Blow to DOJ in False Claims Act Case

Last week, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama handed the Department of Justice (DOJ) a significant defeat by dismissing a False Claims Act (FCA) case against AseraCare, a national hospice...more

AseraCare Defeats DOJ False Claims Act Suit: Plaintiffs Must Present Evidence of an Objective Falsehood to Prove Falsity Under the...

On March 31, 2016, in United States v. AseraCare, Inc, No. 2:12-cv-245-KOB, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42986 (N.D. Ala. Mar. 31, 2016), the district court granted summary judgment for AseraCare and emphasized that contradicting...more

Difference of Medical Opinions Doesn’t Prove One Was False

A federal court in Alabama dealt a blow to the theory that in matters of medical judgment, a false claim action can rest on expert opinion evidence alone. A patient is eligible for hospice if the prognosis is life...more

Judge Sides with AseraCare, Grants Summary Judgment in $200 Million FCA Case

Much like the rest of the health care world, we have been following the AseraCare case since May of last year when the Alabama federal district court granted AseraCare’s motion to bifurcate its False Claims Act (FCA) trial...more

OIG Issues Critical Medical Review Report of Hospice GIP

The report shows significant lapses in 2012 GIP service claims and recommends that CMS implement additional oversight and enforcement options....more

False Claims Act Trial Sets Precedent for Future Cases

The DOJ’s theory of falsity based on clinical disagreement alone fails as a matter of law. In a closely watched False Claims Act (FCA) proceeding by the healthcare industry and FCA practitioners, the US District Court...more

Hospice Providers – Step Up to the “MIC”

After a period of relative calm on the audit front, many signs point to an increase in audit activity. According to the Program Integrity Section of the Division of Medical Assistance, a Medicaid Integrity Contractor (MIC)...more

UPDATE: South Carolina's Hospice Rule Changes Anticipated

South Carolina's proposed hospice licensure rule changes are expected to be approved in the next month, as the expiration date for the 120-day review period for automatic approval by the South Carolina General Assembly is...more

Highlights From The 2016 OIG Work Plan

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released its Work Plan for Fiscal Year 2016. The annual work plan can provide valuable insights into the OIG’s planned areas of...more

Winds of Change Blowing Across the Hospice Landscape

Recent Medicare developments indicate that end-of-life health care providers can expect to face continuing change in an already dynamic sector. These latest turns are part of an ongoing trend toward redefining hospice and...more

Hospice EndNotes - December 2015

Winds of Change Blowing Across the Hospice Landscape - Recent Medicare developments indicate that end-of-life health care providers can expect to face continuing change in an already dynamic sector. These latest turns...more

Tidbits and Takeaways from OIG’s 2016 Work Plan

The Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services (“OIG”) recently issued its 2016 Work Plan, which sets the agenda for its auditing and investigation in the year ahead. The broad mandate of the OIG is to...more

U.S. v. AseraCare and the Standard of Falsity Under the False Claims Act

Prosecutors, defense attorneys and health care providers alike have been closely watching the U.S. v. AseraCare (No. 2:12-cv-00245) matter pending in the Northern District of Alabama. The AseraCare case relates to hospice...more

OIG Work Plan Series Installment Two - Long Term Care - Nursing Homes, Hospice, and Home Health

In early November 2015, the Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) released its 2016 Work Plan, which includes projects specific to certain provider types. This alert will focus on the...more

AGG Helps Hospice Weather the Perfect Storm of Aggressive Medicare Payment Denials and Administrative Appeal Backlog

Medicare’s implementation of post-payment review through private contractors who are overly aggressive in denying payments, combined with a severe backlog of cases in queue for hearing before an Administrative Law Judge...more

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