According to DoJ, Jackie Randolph Gist used his position at Good Samaritan Hospice USA in north Alabama to manipulate the Medicare hospice benefit to the tune of over $3 million. Gist pleaded guilty to engaging in a criminal conspiracy, a crime which typically carries a maximum of five years in prison.
“In the span of just three years, Gist defrauded the Medicare program of almost $3.2 million,” said Joyce White Vance, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. “Fraud such as this against the government will not be tolerated, and we will continue to aggressively enforce the law against individuals and companies who seek to take advantage of taxpayers,” she said.
The Northern District of Alabama is quickly making a name for itself in the fight to clean up the much abused Medicare hospice benefit program. Two years ago, the office announced a settlement of the largest Medicare hospice fraud case in the country’s history, recouping nearly $25 million from national hospice provider, SouthernCare. Like the SouthernCare case, the prosecution of Gist was headed by Assistant United States Attorney Lloyd Peeples.
Abuse of the Medicare hospice benefit has come under greater scrutiny with recent reports in the New York Times, NPR, and Bloomberg News all indicating that for-profit hospice providers may be manipulating the benefit to post huge financial gains. Whistleblowers who file suit under the False Claims Act are the most powerful weapon in the fight against such healthcare fraud. The case against SouthernCare was filed by Frohsin & Barger on behalf of nurse whistleblower Nancy Romeo.