Hospice Owner Allegedly Instructed Nurses To Overdose Patients, Says FBI

By Victoria Kim 04/11/16

An FBI affidavit alleges that a North Texas hospice owner directed nurses to induce death for profit to save the company money.

Image: 
Hospice Owner Allegedly Instructed Nurses To Overdose Patients
Photo via Shutterstock

A Texas health care company is in hot water after a recent NBC 5 report revealed that its staff was repeatedly instructed to overdose hospice patients in order to speed up their deaths.

Novus Health Care Services, Inc. and the owner, 34-year-old Brad Harris, were named in a search warrant affidavit in February, which was obtained by NBC 5. In the affidavit, the FBI describes how Harris 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.”

According to the FBI, Harris spoke of actively seeking “patients who would die within 24 hours” in order to save money. One employee told the FBI that in late 2013, Harris sent a text message asking the employee to increase the “patient’s medication dosage to approximately four times the maximum allowed,” which would have killed the patient. The employee did not carry out Harris’ request at the time.

Another employee told the FBI that Harris would regularly instruct nurses to overdose hospice patients “when they have been on hospice service for too long,” sending text messages like, “You need to make this patient go bye-bye.”

Harris also had a heavy hand in deciding who could stay in hospice care and who would be moved out. According to the FBI, if Harris decided that a patient was in hospice care for too long, he would try to move the patient back to home care, regardless of whether they would benefit from staying in hospice care.

NBC 5 got a hold of the affidavit in late March, in which the allegations were made by the FBI. The agency explains that “hospice providers have an incentive to enroll patients whose hospice stays will be short relative to the cap.” Hospices must comply with an “aggregator cap” that limits Medicare and Medicaid payments based on the yearly average hospice stay. So if a patient lives “too long,” the facility may have to pay back their part of their payments to the government.

So far, nobody has been charged, according to NBC 5. Novus posted a statement to its website after the report aired, ensuring that “we have not and would not—ever—willfully harm any patient.”

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
IMG_0717.jpg

Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr