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PHOENIX -- Federal authorities say a Phoenix-based hospice has agreed to pay $12 million to resolve allegations of submitting false claims to Medicare.

The Justice Department announced the settlement Wednesday involving Hospice of Arizona L.C. along with a related entity, American Hospice Management LLC, and parent corporation American Hospice Management Holdings LLC.

The Medicare hospice benefit is available for patients who have a life expectancy of six months or less if their disease runs its normal course.

Hospice of Arizona and its related entities were accused of submitting false Medicare claims between September 2002 and December 2010 for patients who didn't need end of life care or for whom the hospice billed at a higher reimbursement rate than entitled.

Hospice of Arizona officials say the settlement doesn't include any admission of wrongdoing.

Associated Press,

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