Apparently some FBI personnel are starting to take nursing home investigations and murder of the elderly serious. We applaud those efforts. Every time an elderly patient dies in a nursing home, there should be a tox screen for excessive consumption of heavy narcotics. Until and unless a court orders such a treatment (as if that will ever happen, think of the long battle in Terry Schiavo’s case), patients are to be well fed, hydrated and have medications they approve of administered to them. A Guardian does not have the right to withdraw food or hydration or even administer narcotics as chemical restraints. That is all illegal. In Illinois we have the case of In re Tiffany.
Health services CEO ruthlessly took advantage of the terminally ill and elderly, killing patients for profit
(NaturalNews) A Texas based healthcare company has been accused of expediting the deaths of hospice patients via drug overdoses in order to increase profits, according to a report by NBC 5. Brad Harris, 34, founded Novus Health Care Services, Inc. in July 2012, state records show. The company is based in Frisco.
Individuals employed with Novus accuse Harris of making heartless comments about hospice patients living too long. He allegedly instructed nurses to speed up their death by doubling, tripling and quadrupling their medication.
Harris, an accountant with no medical background, reportedly “instructed a nurse to administer overdoses to three patients and directed another employee to increase a patient’s medication to four-times the maximum allowed,” the FBI wrote in an affidavit for a search warrant obtained by the local news.
‘Hastening the death’ of hospice patients
“You need to make this patient go bye-bye,” Harris allegedly wrote in a text sent to a nurse employed with Novus. In the first instance, the nurse refused her boss’s instructions, but the FBI affidavit is unclear as to whether or not any hospice patients were harmed by Harris’ lethal business model.
Apparently, healthcare providers have an incentive to get rid of patients fast because they do not “make more money for longer hospice stays,” reports NBC 5. According to the FBI, hospices are subject to an “aggregator cap,” which limits Medicare and Medicaid payments based on the average annual hospice stay.
Providers can be forced to pay back money to the government if “patients live too long. … Hence, hospice providers have an incentive to enroll patients whose hospice stays will be short relative to the cap,” said the FBI.
Novus first attracted the attention of the FBI in 2014, when information surfaced that the company was recruiting patients “who did not qualify for services,” fraudulently billing the government for unnecessary medical treatments.
It was during the investigation that the FBI learned of Harris’ much more sinister behavior, including that “as part of this scheme, Harris, who has no medical training or licenses, would direct his employed nurses to overdose hospice patients with palliative medications such as morphine to hasten death, and thereby minimize Novus’ (paybacks) under the cap.”
Healthcare fraud, false statements and obstructing an investigation
The FBI raided the offices of the healthcare provider in September 2015, but NBC 5 was unable to view court records pertaining to that search, because they appear to be sealed. Determined to increase profits, Harris handpicked which home healthcare patients would be moved to hospice, completely ignoring their medical needs.
“He did this by having employees who were not doctors sign the certifications with the names of doctors also employed by Novus,” wrote the FBI agent. “If a patient was on hospice care for too long, Harris would direct the patient be moved back to home health, irrespective of whether the patient needed continued hospice care.”
Harris is reported to have made a series of cold-hearted and arguably downright evil comments to the nurses he employed about killing off hospice patients. During a lunch meeting, he told two healthcare executives to “find patients who would die within 24 hours,” in order to “save my ass toward the cap,” according to the FBI.
Referring to a current hospice patient, Harris said that he wished they “would just [expletive] die.” He allegedly directed other employees to “overdose hospice patients when they have been on hospice service for too long.”
The FBI is investigating Novus for healthcare fraud, false statements relating to healthcare matters, and obstruction of a criminal investigation into healthcare offenses. The company was forced to turn over all of its data storage including emails, medical records and passwords.
Novus’ website says: “When you invite us into your home, it’s personal. And we take that invite as an honor as well as an immense responsibility.”