A former senior executive of a hospice in North Texas in the US has admitted to participating in an alleged $60 million scheme to ‘maximise profits’ that included overdosing patients to hasten their deaths, court documents show.
Melanie Murphey, operations director for Novus Health Services in Frisco, pleaded guilty to federal health-care fraud charges. She faces up to ten years in prison.
According to court documents made public, Murphey admitted that she was a “go-between” between Bradley Harris and five nurses and five doctors who are also charged in the alleged conspiracy. Her alleged accomplices have not pleaded guilty.
According to NBC5, ‘Murphey acknowledged she falsified paperwork to admit patients who weren’t even eligible for hospice services and took directions from Harris designed to maximize profits.’
“These directions included Bradley Harris’s instructing nurses to intentionally overmedicate beneficiaries with medications such as hydromorphone and morphine with the intent to hasten their deaths,” Murphey said in the document, known as a factual resume.
An accountant for the hospice Bradley Harris, despite having no medical training, would decide which medications the hospice’s patients should receive. This shows Murphey admitting that patients were admitted to the hospice without a doctor’s consultation as required.
If patients took too long in the hospice and therefore became expensive to care for, Harris would order that the hospice increase “whatever narcotic was being used, generally morphine, Dilaudid or Ativan,” said Murphey.
“Bradley Harris ordered these increases in medication because he wanted the beneficiaries to die,” the court documents show.
According to an FBI search warrant Harris ordered a nurse through text: “You need to make this patient go bye-bye.”
In addition, ‘Murphey also admitted she falsified Do Not Resuscitate orders, or DNR’s, to avoid having to pay for ambulance trips to a hospital if the patient’s family called 911.’
She has also admitted to helping in the destruction of evidence after it came to hospice’s attention that the FBI was investigating them.