It’s no question that healthcare fraud is a serious issue in the United States: it costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year, and is fueled by the prioritization of wealth over patient well-being. The importance of combatting fraud becomes even more obvious when it turns into matters of life and death, as is often the case with hospice fraud. For many professionals in the industry, fraudulent behavior is witnessed so often that the lines of right and wrong become blurred. This article discusses what hospice fraud is, how it occurs, and how people are able to report it.
Nurses, CNAs, and other healthcare professionals who work in hospice centers and have seen things go wrong, and it usually starts with something small: a fudged billing code, an extra dose of pain medication, or something that seems relatively “harmless.” However, the path to fraud is a slippery slope, and when it comes to hospice facilities, it usually results in needless patient death. Nurses often become whistleblowers after witnessing such an event.
Why Nurses Are So Important in Combatting Hospice Fraud
Being of service to others is part of being human, but nurses and care professionals go above and beyond the natural call of duty. Nurses are there for those who can’t take care of themselves, those in need. They make difficult decisions and save lives every day. And sometimes, those difficult and life-saving decisions involve standing up against unethical medical practices that exploit or endanger people at their most vulnerable moments.
Because of any care professional’s moral investment in the practice of caring for others, it becomes difficult to stand idly by while patients are being neglected, mistreated, or falsely certified as requiring hospice care. The patients in hospice centers that employ these fraudulent tactics would otherwise be able to get better, had they not been admitted under false pretenses. Unfortunately, hospice care professionals often get roped into these schemes and suffer from the guilt of having followed along, which prevents them from coming forward. However, coming forward does not necessarily involve facing legal repercussions, even for those who participated in the fraud under direction – in fact, there are protections in place for whistleblowers against healthcare fraud, regardless of their involvement.
What Can I Do If I Suspect Fraud?
If you suspect fraud, don’t be afraid to speak up – you very well may not be wrong. Hospice is an industry that has been ravaged by fraud – fraud that often goes unnoticed because it is so well obscured. Bringing it to the attention of someone who can help could be the difference between life and death for some of these patients. At Whistleblower Justice Network, we specialize in all areas of hospice fraud and can assist you in bringing these schemes to light. With your help, we pursue justice for those who do not have a voice. Call us today at 844-WJN-4ALL or report fraud here. Together, We Make a Difference.