Owner, Manager, and Hospice Company Indicted for Committing Medicare Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 17, 2014|
OKLAHOMA CITY—A federal grand jury in Oklahoma City has returned an indictment charging Paula Kluding, 38, from Chandler, Oklahoma; Patricia Carter, 42, from Tecumseh, Oklahoma; and Prairie View Hospic Inc. (Prairie View Hospice), an Oklahoma corporation located in Chandler, Oklahoma, with 39 separate counts relating to Medicare fraud, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
According to the indictment, Prairie View Hospice was in business to provide hospice care to Medicare beneficiaries. Hospice care consists of providing health care, medication, medical equipment, and other goods and services to terminally ill patients. Kluding owned Prairie View Hospice and Carter was the general manager. The indictment alleges that from July 2010 through July 2013, the defendants conspired to conceal the true medical condition of Prairie View Hospice’s patients and the true quality and quantity of health care services they were receiving in order to “pass” a Medicare audit and to fraudulently obtain money from Medicare. Specifically, it is alleged, among other things, that certain medical documents were falsified to make it appear that nurses had visited patients or conducted necessary assessments when such visits and assessments had not, in fact, been made. Also, nursing notes were falsified to make it appear that patients were in worse health than they actually were in order to justify to Medicare the patient’s continued hospice care. It is alleged that Prairie View Hospice, acting through Kluding and Carter, sent the falsified documents to a Medicare subcontractor in response to requests to audit patient files and claims for Medicare reimbursement. The indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy, obstruction of a federal audit, and making false statements in health care matter.
If convicted, the individual defendants face up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on each count. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of all property and proceeds obtained by the defendants from the alleged criminal acts. Reference is made to the indictment for further information. The defendants are all presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Maxfield Green.