McKnight’s reported that Skilled Healthcare Group and a Nevada hospice that it operates have been charged with submitting “tens of millions of dollars” in false Medicare and Medicaid claims, the U.S. Department of Justice announced. Management at Creekside Hospice in Las Vegas used the term “chart killers” to describe documentation showing patients were improving and might no longer qualify for the hospice benefit. Staff were discouraged from updating the medical records with these improvements. Other charges include repeated upcoding, falsifying medical records to indicate that physician visits had occurred when they hadn’t, and inappropriate actions to prevent families and beneficiaries from revoking their election of the hospice benefit.
The federal False Claims lawsuit originated as two whistleblower complaints brought by former Creekside managers. Creekside offers hospice services to patients in their homes or in long-term care facilities, as well as at an inpatient facility, according to its website. Skilled Healthcare Group operates more than 100 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, and operates hospice and home health in six states. The company’s administrative services subsidiary, Skilled Healthcare LLC, also was named in the suit.