Hospice firm to pay $25M in Medicare fraud case

CREATED Mar. 1, 2012

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MILWAUKEE- Federal attorneys say Odyssey HealthCare, one of the nation's largest providers of hospice care, has agreed to pay $25 million to settle a Medicare fraud case.

The agreement follows claims made by a former company nurse in Milwaukee who filed a whistle-blower lawsuit.

Odyssey, which operates in about 27 states, was purchased by Atlanta-based Gentiva Health Services in 2010. Thursday's settlement resolves allegations that Odyssey submitted false claims to the Medicare program.

The Journal Sentinel reports registered nurse Jane Tuchalski was fired by Odyssey after raising concerns about company operations. She filed the federal suit in 2008.

It's the second such settlement in six years for Odyssey. The company paid the federal government $12.5 million in 2006 after another Wisconsin-based employee sued.

Gentiva didn't return a phone call Thursday.