Former Horizons Hospice Chief to plead guilty to Medicare fraid

The former CEO of Horizons Hospice hospice, Mary Ann Stewart is scheduled to plead guilty to Medicare fraud for allegedly treating patients that weren’t terminally ill to collect millions of dollars in false Medicare and Medicaid billings . According to the indictment against her, Stewart had her staff admit patients who weren’t terminally ill to the hospice, so she could bill the government insurance programs for end-of-life medical services, the indictment said. Such treatment often includes pain medications and management. she  was scheduled to stand trial in November and again in March after her case was reassigned to U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry after disputes over the previous judge’s pretrial rulings.

Her  indictment contends the alleged fraud cost the government unspecified millions of dollars from January 2008 through August 2012 at the facility in Monroeville, about 15 miles east of Pittsburgh. The indictment alleges she conspired with unnamed “others known to the grand jury,” but federal prosecutors have not said whether anyone else might be charged and have yet to file any additional charges.

Recently, Dr. Oliver Herndon, 44, pleaded guilty in November 2014 to submitting claims for Horizons Hospice patients who weren’t terminally ill or for services not provided. Herndon was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison in July. That sentence is running concurrent to an 11-year federal prison sentence for supplying patients at his separate practice with so many illegal painkillers that his arrest in 2011 caused the street price of the pills to double.

In that case,he acknowledged overprescribing drugs — mostly the painkillers oxycodone and oxymorphone — without a legitimate medical purpose and with health care fraud relating to his private practice.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers