Fox Nation Falsely Blames Hospice Layoffs on Obama Reelection

Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

Fox Nation falsely claimed that San Diego Hospice laid off 180 workers because of President Obama's reelection. But the center's chief executive explained that the audit which prompted the layoffs were due to overpayments to the care provider.

In a November 30 article titled "Americans Rocked By Another Round of Obama Reelection Layoffs," Fox Nation blamed the president's reelection as the catalyst for layoffs of 180 workers at San Diego Hospice. From Fox Nation:

In fact, San Diego Hospice layoffs had nothing to do with the president. The North County Times article that Fox Nation linked to, which titled the story "Austerity plan at San Diego Hospice brings layoffs," reported that San Diego Hospice announced they were laying off workers due to future reimbursements the company would have to make to Medicare after the company was audited for receiving overpayments. The article explained that the center improperly documented long-term patients, which is a violation of Medicare reimbursement guidelines:

Those guidelines require a hospice to serve only patients who have six months or less to live. Hospice operators are required to document each patient's declining condition and to discharge those who don't meet the guidelines.

But that did not always happen at San Diego Hospice. In some cases, patients remained in hospice care for a year or more without proper documentation.

In an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune Chief Executive Kathleen Pacurar explained:

Pacurar said she believes San Diego Hospice is vulnerable to millions of dollars in rebates to Medicare because the program has not been strict enough in making sure that its patients are truly suffering from an illness likely to cause death within six months. She said doctors and caregivers operated for decades on an "open access" policy that kept patients on hospice care for longer than six months, sometimes without being able to demonstrate that their condition was worsening.

"We lost sight of interpreting these guidelines appropriately. We put the concept of patients, and what we were going to be able to do for them, above what the guidelines were," Pacurar said.

This is not a first offense - Fox Nation has deceptively titled headlines on layoffs in the past few weeks in order to attack President Obama. In a November 26 article, the website claimed Hostess and Murray Energy made "More Mass Layoffs after Obama Reelection" however, both article cited showed market-related reasons for the job cuts. Hostess announced liquidation  due to failed union negotiations, Murray Energy and others in the coal industry are struggling under competition from the natural gas industry. Instead of explaining the reasons for these companies' difficulties, Fox Nation blamed them on Obama's reelection:

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