Hospice Provider Settles Overbilling for $1 Million Following Exec Pay Raises

Trustbridge Inc., a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based nonprofit hospice provider, settled an excessive billing case with the government for $1 million at the same time it was paying executives exorbitant pay raises, The Palm Beach Post reported.

The company is the parent of Hospice of Palm Beach County, Hospice By the Sea and Hospice of Broward County, and has been operating since 1978. Trustbridge, which has annual revenues of about $139 million, also provides home health care services, palliative medicine, caregiver support, and bereavement programs.

In 2014 and in October 2017, Hospice of Palm Beach County agreed to pay more than $1 million after reviews by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration’s office of inspector general and bureau of Medicaid program integrity, according to The Palm Beach Post.

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While the hospice was settling the case, Trustbridge CEO David C. Fielding received a 37% pay hike to $954,071 in 2016, according to documents reviewed by Post.

Employees that spoke to the publication described “fury” over learning of the pay hike, as Fielding also set the pay of at least seven other officers at more than $300,000. One employee stated she was fired after advocating for more supplies and staffing for patients, while another has taken the company to court with claims she was fired for not being able to get to work during Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

“My fury comes from knowing the salaries the executives are making,” Lucinda Lantz, 61, told The Palm Beach Post. …”As a social worker, I didn’t get raises for years. I guess that didn’t apply to everybody.”

Lantz said she was fired after writing memos complaining about a lack of supplies and bedside care for patients.

Trustbridge’s operations employ about 1,400 employees.

Trustbridge admitted no wrongdoing in its settlement with the government. The company also told the publication its pay practices were in line with industry standards and its patents and families are supplied with care and supplies as required by hospice regulations.

Fielding and Trustbridge did not respond to media requests by Home Health Care News as of press time.

Fielding’s pay increase from 2016 included $258,498 in bonus and incentive pay. Randy Prange, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Trustbridge, received $464,979 in compensation. Director of Medical Education Richard Levene received $443,894 in pay, while Vice President of Medical Affairs Lauren Kennedy’s compensation was $414,664, according to The Palm Beach Post.

The company’s board of directors contracts with a heath care compensation expert to help set executive pay, Trustbridge told the Post in a statement.

Written by Amy Baxter

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