Georgia hospice service to pay $581,504 to settle claims

A Georgia hospice care service will pay more than half a million dollars to the federal government to settle allegations that it submitted false claims for Medicare reimbursements.

The U.S. Justice Department said allegations against Serenity Hospice Care LLC of Dublin, about two hours southeast of Atlanta, stemmed from a whistleblower lawsuit. The company, which has denied the allegations, was accused of submitting claims for patients who were not eligible for hospice care under Medicare regulations.

The Medicare hospice benefit is for patients who elect care to relieve the pain, symptoms, or stress of terminal illness, instead of patients seeking care designed to cure an illness or condition. The benefit is also for patients who have a life expectancy of six months or less if their illness runs its normal course.

Serenity Hospice has agreed to pay $581,504. According to a report by The Telegraph in Middle Georgia, the whistleblower, a former billing clerk at the hospice service, will receive more than $110,000.

In addition to Dublin, the company has locations in Peachtree City, Columbus, Milledgeville, Warner Robins and Vidalia.