Jacksonville, Florida – Acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announces that Haven Hospice (Haven), a hospice company headquartered in Gainesville, Florida, has agreed to pay $5,085,024 to resolve allegations that Haven violated the False Claims Act by knowingly billing the government for medically unnecessary and undocumented hospice services.

The settlement concludes a lawsuit originally filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida by a former employee of Haven Hospice, Dr. John Simons. The lawsuit was filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act that permits private individuals to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery. The Act also allows the government to intervene and take over the action. Dr. Simons will receive roughly $900,000 of the proceeds from the settlement with Haven.

Treasure Coast Hospice, a nonprofit owned by parent company Treasure Health, settled a case for $2.5 million in November of 2017, without admission of liability.

“In a routine review of patient records in 2014, the government asserted that Treasure Coast Hospice did not provide sufficient documentation for the care that was delivered to certain patients during the period from 2005 to 2011,” Scott Roads, Treasure Health Board of Directors chairman, said in a recent email to TCPalm.

The financial settlement does not reflect the extent of the nonprofit’s wrongdoing, according to Christopher Copeland, a Jupiter attorney who represents the whistleblowers, former Treasure Health employees Dr. Lewis Cook and Dr. John Simons.

“The damages the government was able to identify far exceeded their ability to pay,” Copeland told TCPalm on Thursday. “The desire was not to shut hospice down, but to allow them to continue to provide services.”