FBI: Hospice owner ordered nurses to give overdose

By Douglas Ernst


The FBI is investigating a Texas medical company it says ordered nurses to overdose hospice patients to maximize profits.

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An FBI affidavit viewed by KXAS-5 in Dallas Fort Worth says Novus Health Care Services, Inc. founder Brad Harris, 34, demanded nurses misuse drugs like morphine to speed up patients’ demise. Quick deaths allow companies to avoid what is called an “aggregator cap,” which limits Medicare and Medicaid payments based on the yearly average hospice stay.

“You need to make this patient go bye-bye,” Harris allegedly wrote to a nurse, the FBI agent’s affidavit said. The government also claims he made comments like “if this f—er would just die,” and “find patients who [will] die within 24 hours.”

Harris, who his an accountant, started Novus in 2012. The NBC affiliate said Tuesday that employees in Frisco who left after an FBI raid were sued.

Hospice Texas

“We have a saying at Novus, be fast and treat people the way we would want to be treated,” Novus’ website says. “This encourages us to go the extra mile to make patients feel comfortable and secure about their special needs and requests.”

The federal government claims Harris went the “extra mile” to hasten patients’ death for cash. The agent said that on at least four occasions employees were encouraged to overdose patients.  One nurse refused the order but the document did not elaborate on others.

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The agency said its investigation in Novus began in October 2014 while it concentrated on allegations the company accepted patients that did not quality for the services and then charged the government for costs, the Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday.

A search warrant signed Feb. 3, 2015, forced Smarsh, a data storage company in Portland, Oregon, to supply all of Novus’ email and medical records. Novus’ offices in north Texas were then searched Sept. 17, 2015.

Both Harris and an FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on the investigation, KXAS-5 reported.

Smarsh, which not accused of any wrongdoing, also declined to comment.

Agents are coordinating their efforts with investigators from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General’s office. No charges have been filed at this time.

Hospice NOVUS

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