Calhoun hospice company agrees to settlement over alleged kickback scheme

A Calhoun hospice company has agreed to a settlement over allegations that it was involved in a kickback scheme for referrals.

On Thursday, Tapestry Hospice of Northwest Georgia and its owners and managers agreed to pay $1.4 million in a settlement.

Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia say their investigation began when a former Tapestry employee filed a whistleblower complaint.

In the complaint, the employee claimed that Tapestry paid medical directors to refer patients to the company. These payments allegedly included monthly stipends and a "signing bonus," which increased or decreased with the number of referrals. 

"Decisions regarding end-of-life care are incredibly difficult and personal, and families must be able to trust the intentions of their chosen providers," said Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. "Those who instead take advantage of the system for their own personal gain will be held accountable."

Investigators believe the alleged scheme violated the False Claims Act.

"The False Claims Act settlement in this case will hopefully be a deterrent to those who selfishly evade our federal healthcare programs for their own benefit," said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. "The message is clear, the FBI will not tolerate companies operating corporate-wide schemes to illegally line their pockets."

The case was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Georgia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.