The owner of a home health and hospice agency in Texas repeatedly ordered his employees to give hospice patients drug overdoses to hasten their deaths and maximize profits, according to an affidavit obtained by a local NBC affiliate.
Brad Harris, the 34-year-old founder of Novus Health Care Services, Inc. in Frisco, Texas, allegedly ordered a nurse to administer overdoses to three patients and instructed a different employee to increase a patient’s medication to four-times the maximum allowed, according to an affidavit written by an FBI agent and obtained by NBC 5 in Dallas-Fort Worth.
In the first instance, the Novus employee refused to follow Harris’ alleged orders, the FBI affidavit revealed; the affidavit does not say whether the other three patients were harmed.
Harris also allegedly sent a text message to an employee that read “You need to make this patient go bye-bye” and told his employees to “find patients who would die within 24 hours.”
The FBI’s investigation into Novus began in October 2014. The investigation initially centered around allegations that Novus had for two years recruited patients who did not qualify for services, and then charged the government for services that were medically unnecessary.
Harris, an accountant with no medical training or licenses, decided which home health care patients would be moved to hospice by having employees who were not physicians sign certifications with the names of doctors also employed by Novus, the affidavit revealed. Then, if a patient was in hospice care for too long, Harris would order the patient be moved back to home health, regardless of whether the patient required continued hospice care.
Novus responded to the allegations in a statement posted to the company’s website on March 31.
Novus has not, nor will it ever, willfully harm any patient, the company said in the statement.
“Novus and its staff closely follow plans of care established by each patient’s physician, with the oversight of a medical director who helps the team define and assess all interactions and medications,” the statement reads.
Moreover, the news reports about the incidents seem to be primarily based on unsubstantiated information taken from an affidavit sealed by a federal court, which was unlawfully leaked to a news organization, the statement says.
“We should point out that we have not seen a copy of the affidavit, nor has any law enforcement authority taken action against the company based on its contents,” Novus concludes.
As of March 30, no charges had been filed against Novus or Harris.
Written by Mary Kate Nelson