A federal jury has convicted a Mississippi doctor of referring and certifying patients to hospice care who were not terminally ill and didn’t know what sort of treatment they would be getting. Dr. Scott Nelson, of Cleveland, was found guilty on Monday of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi said in a news release Tuesday. “In almost all cases, the patients had no idea they were being placed on hospice,” the news release said. It said patients testified that he didn’t tell them he was referring them to hospice care or explain what it was.
udge Debra M. Brown has scheduled sentencing for July 27, online court records show. He was convicted on one conspiracy count and seven of health care fraud. Each count carries up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Court documents and evidence show Nelson served as medical director for as many as 14 hospice providers from 2009 to 2014, receiving about $442,000 from them. Medicare paid the hospice owners more than $15 million based on Nelson’s patient referrals and certifications, prosecutors said.