Florida Senate president's former hospice company sued by feds for alleged Medicare fraud

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Department of Justice is suing the hospice company founded by Florida Senate president, accusing it of submitting tens of millions of dollars in fraudulent Medicare claims for more than a decade, including while Don Gaetz was vice chairman of the board.

The department says Vitas Hospice and Vitas Healthcare submitted claims for emergency services for patients that weren’t needed or weren’t provided. It says the companies pressured their employees to submit more claims to get more revenue.

Vitas is the largest U.S. hospice care chain.

Gaetz says he hasn’t been involved with the company’s management since 2000. He was vice chairman of the board during part of the time that federal investigators allege the fraud took place but says he had no “role in the operation of the company” then.