Government Documents Dangerous Failures in Hospice-Care Facilities
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released two deeply concerning reports about failures in hospice care. Hospices put patients in harm’s way by failing to meet Medicare’s standards of care, failing to protect patients from abuse, and failing to report dangerous conditions. All told, the reports paint a grim picture of substandard health services for a particularly vulnerable patient population.
The reports include some gruesome details, including maggots in a patient’s feeding tube, signs of sexual assault, and serious wounds that went untreated. Overall, HHS found that almost 10% of the facilities surveyed were poor performers and over 80% of the facilities had at least one deficiency.
Sadly, problems in hospice care are not new. Hospice providers have repeatedly been subject to False Claims Act suits, including for failing to sufficiently staff facilities or providing unneeded medication. The Government recognizes the importance of oversight and strict standards to protect hospice patients, but on some level there is little they can do to monitor the day to day lived experience of hospice care—without the aid of whistleblowers willing to come forward with information about it. Whistleblowers play an important role in alerting the Government to problems that may otherwise be hidden from view. If you have any information about fraud in hospice care, please contact us.
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