Whistleblower Lawsuit Results in $6.1 Million Settlement

The law firm of Foland, Wickens, Eisfelder, Roper & Hofer, P.C., is pleased to announce that a settlement in the case of U. S. ex rel. Landis v. Hospice Care of Kansas, LLC, et al., that was pending before the United States District Court of the District of Kansas, in Kansas City, has been confirmed by the U. S. Department of Justice.  The case was filed under the False Claims Act, alleging that Hospice Care of Kansas, and its parent, Voyager HospiceCare, Inc., billed Medicare for services to hospice patients, who were, in fact, not eligible for hospice service.

The Relator, Beverly Landis had previously been a director of another hospice service before she went to work with the Hospice Care. Ms. Landis knew the Medicare regulations and how those billings were supposed to work. The Medicare hospice benefit is available for patients who elect palliative treatment for a terminal illness and have a life expectancy of six months or less if their disease runs the normal course. When she discovered violations of the regulations, Ms. Landis reported the illegal billing to the management of Hospice Care without result, so then reported it to the Medicare Intermediary, which began an investigation.

Several months later, Landis filed her lawsuit under the False Claims Act alleging that the defendants engaged in certain practices that resulted in the submission of false claims.  These practices included the provision of compensation to clinical employees based on patient census and admissions, delaying discharges of patients determined not to have a six month or less prognosis, instructions to staff to document patient conditions in a misleading manner and implementation of an inadequate compliance program.

Following the filing of Landis’ lawsuit under seal, the federal government investigated her claims.  As a result of that investigation the Department of Justice intervened.

The law firm of Foland, Wickens, Eisfelder, Roper and Hofer, P. C., represented Ms. Landis, in the litigation.  As the Relator, Landis was awarded a fee of $1.342 million.  One of the attorneys who led the trial team and worked closely with the Department of Justice, David White, said:  “This has been a long road, but the result totally vindicates Ms. Landis.  Given that she continued to work for Hospice Care of Kansas up until late last year, shows her dedication to her profession as a hospice nurse.”

Foland, Wickens, Eisfelder, Roper & Hofer, P. C., is a civil trial practice firm with offices in Kansas City, Missouri, and Overland Park, Kansas.  Managing director and a lead attorney in the Landis case, Joseph Roper, said, “Our firm is very pleased with the results in this case and knows that Ms. Landis will be in a position to have a comfortable life.  Even though the case took over six years to prosecute, the results obtained clearly justify the time and effort.  Without a doubt, the excellent work of the Department of Justice attorneys was a key to the resolution of this case.”

If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Ms. Landis, Mr. White or Mr. Roper, please contact Mr. White at 816-460-2813 or email at dwhite@fwpclaw.com.

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