Another company associated with a Florida Republican has been accused of Medicare fraud, but this time it doesn't involve Gov. Rick Scott.
Nope, this time it's not the Governor, it's the Senate President Don Gaetz, whose former company Vitas Hospice Services and Vitas Healthcare Corp. the U.S. Justice Department alleges “misspent tens of millions of taxpayer dollars from the Medicare program since at least 2002." (Is there a secret club for these guys somewhere that we aren't aware of?)
Gaetz sold the company in 2004 to its current owner, Cincinnati-based Chemed, and reportedly no longer owns any shares or has any affiliation with the company. Chemed operates hospice services in 18 states including Florida.
The suit, filed on the eve of the final day of the legislative session, alleges that the Chemed and its hospice subsidiaries defrauded Medicare by billing Medicare for patients who were not eligible for hospice care, and for charging Medicare for crisis care given to patients who either didn’t need it or never received it.
Gaetz, R-Niceville, who was elected to the Senate in 2006, said through a spokeswoman late Wednesday that the DOJ complaint involves issues that occurred after he left the company.
Rick Scott was never charged with Medicare fraud, but his former company received the largest fine for Medicare fraud in history.
If there is such a club for alleged Medicare fraudsters, they must not only have a secret formula for billing, but they're really bad at math. Last time I checked my calendar, 2002 came before 2004, when Gaetz sold the company. He may claim to have "left" the company before this occurred, but he still owned it during that time.
Charging Medicare for crisis care given to terminally ill patients who either didn’t need it or never received it? Classy!
But then the Gaetz family is nothing but classy. After all, upon passing the “Timely Justice Act,” which makes it even faster and easier to execute prisoners by cutting short the time for death penalty appeals, Don's son, and House Rep. Matt Gaetz had this to say:
“Only God can judge. But we can sure set up the meeting.”
So quick to judge! If these allegations are true, may justice be just as swift in this case, but something tells me Gaetz's lawyers will take all the time they need, and then some, to defend him and the company.
When it comes to Republicans in the alleged Medicare Fraudsters Club, and the Florida Capital, membership has its privileges.