Hospice programs offer medical services and emotional support to patients who are facing the end of their life. Hospice workers are required to be licensed and certified in order to provide this specialized care. (Obviously, you wouldn’t want someone who is not qualified to administer your end-of-life care plan. The point is to stick around as long as possible, not exit this world early because of a caretaker’s mistake.) An article published in The Dallas Morning News follows the story of a woman who stole the identity of a registered nurse and used it to get a job as a hospice worker at eight different hospice companies over a three-year period of time.
The story states that the woman did apply to take a nursing exam, but her application was rejected because the university where her coursework was supposedly completed was not accredited. Since she was unable to obtain a medical license the correct way, she stole the driver’s license, Social Security number and other personally identifiable information of another woman who happened to be a registered nurse. (That is definitely the wrong way to go about it.)
The story states that while the woman was employed at the multiple hospice companies, she was directly responsible for the care of more than 160 patients. During that time, hospice claims worth approximately $2.3 million were submitted to Medicare for the work she performed. (The article says she earned about $55,000 for her work as an unlicensed hospice care worker.)
The 33-year-old nurse imposter pleaded guilty to one count of fraud in connection with means of identification. She faces up to 15 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced. Apparently, this was not this woman’s first brush with the law. The story also states that she had previously been on probation for a family violence offense, served jail time for stealing a friend’s identity to buy a car and served additional jail time for another fraud charge. (No wonder this woman went to great lengths to hide who she was. Her employer must have completely skipped the background check. )
The goal of hospice care is to make terminally ill patients as comfortable as possible, not compromise their care. (Although the story does not indicate that any of the patients were harmed by her actions, I bet family members were a bit irked, if not horrified, to hear that their loved ones may not have received the best care available.)
The employer could have prevented this fraud in the very beginning by following up with a background check that verified the identity and authenticity of this woman’s nursing license. Instead, the imposter damaged the reputation of her employer and the nursing profession in general. (My guess is that it won’t be long before the law suits start rolling in.)
Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Fake Nurse Who Worked at Hospices with Stolen Identity Admits Fraud,” written by Kevin Krause and published in The Dallas Morning News on December 9, 2014.
A woman who impersonated a nurse to get jobs caring for hospice patients admitted Tuesday in federal court that she committed fraud.
Jada Necole Antoine, 33, of Little Elm stole the identity of a registered nurse in order to get nursing jobs at eight different hospice companies from 2009 to 2012, federal authorities said.