Medicare Terminates Agreement with Troubled Hospices

Hospice Direct and Serenity Hospice, owned by the same people, have not paid numerous employees for several months. Now they are in trouble with Medicare.

A notice was issued to both businesses, which are owned by Linda Knight of union.

According to officials with the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, Medicare investigators have been surveying both hospices.

After evaluating them both, the department has decided to terminate its provider agreement with Hospice Direct and Serenity Hospice as of Mar. 23.

After that date the Medicare program will not make payment for services that the hospices provide to patients.

In response to the termination notice, both Hospice Direct and Serenity Hospice have filed a plan of corrections notice with the Medicare program.

Medicare officials are now evaluating that. By Monday officials with the regional Medicare office in Atlanta say they should be able to determine whether or not the correction plans for both hospices are sufficient enough to cancel the termination notice.

According to the attorney for both organizations, a number of employees had not been paid since the end of November 2009. He says the holdup is due to delays from reimbursements from Medicare.

Late Friday afternoon, officials with the hospice said they were looking into the pay issue.