A home care and hospice agency owner recently pled guilty to charges that she committed fraud. Cleveland, Mississippi resident Charline Brandon pled guilty to her role in fraudulently collecting payments from Medicare and Medicaid over the course of several years.
According to prosecutors in the case, Ms. Brandon submitted more than $11 million in fraudulent claims for Medicare reimbursement for home and hospice care services. She also submitted more than $2 million in fraudulent claims to Medicaid.
According to a press release by the United States Department of Justice, through the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Mississippi, entitled Cleveland Woman Pleads Guilty to Hospice Fraud:
“Evidence submitted at the change of plea hearing showed that Brandon owned and operated a series of Hospice organizations headquartered in Cleveland, Mississippi, including Haven Hospice, North Haven Hospice, Lion Hospice and North Lion Hospice. Brandon admitted that she fraudulently submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for hospice services that were not medically necessary or that were not provided to the hospice patients as claimed. Brandon further admitted that she illegally recruited patients who were not hospice eligible. The Government alleged at the change of plea hearing that Brandon submitted more than $11 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare and more than $2 million in fraudulent claims to Medicaid.”
According to Special Agent in Charge at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General in Atlanta, Derek L. Jackson, “This sham hospice provider exploited the most vulnerable in our society while stealing millions from our health care system. This is one of the largest and most egregious hospice schemes I have seen in Mississippi. The OIG will continue to identify the individuals committing these crimes and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
Hospice and home care is designed to provide support to aging and terminal individuals who may not have the appropriate level of care otherwise. By defrauding Medicare and Medicaid through these services, it limits access the most vulnerable and at risk individuals have to these support services.
People like Ms. Brandon give home care and even hospice care a bad reputation because these tend to be the stories that the general public sees through the media, rather than the numerous stories of support and help people received through quality, dignified, honest, and compassionate home care providers and company owners.
According to Attorney General Jim Hood, “Hospice is designed for end of life care to care for our most vulnerable people, not for personal gain.”
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