Troubled Hospice Home Care of Hot Springs Facing Suits by Partners

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Jun. 24, 2013 12:00 am  

Hospice Home Care of Hot Springs opened Arkansas’ first free-standing inpatient hospice center nearly a decade ago.  (Photo by Mauren Kennedy)

This isn’t the first time Wellspring sued HHC. It filed a case with the same allegations in 2009, but that lawsuit was dismissed in 2012 after Wellspring failed to take action to move forward with the case. In the order of dismissal, Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Chris Piazza allowed Wellspring to refile the suit.

Within months after Wellspring stopped doing business with HHC’s companies, NEA Hospice struck a deal to buy HHC’s Searcy location.

But NEA also said it had trouble dealing with HHC, Troppoli, Travis and HHC CEO Michael Tankersley, who have been named as defendants in the lawsuit.

NEA said after it entered into the agreement for the Searcy location, HHC was supposed to sign over the Medicare provider number, which is key in operating a hospice business.

Without the provider number, “NEA Hospice cannot independently bill for its services provided under the Medicare Program,” it said in the lawsuit.

Also as part of the transaction, NEA was supposed to be given the opportunity to buy more of HHC’s stock before it was sold to someone else, the lawsuit said.

NEA said that didn’t happen. Right after NEA signed the agreement with HHC, HHC sold shares of its stock to Tankersley, Margaret Bodemann and Kim Bodemann, who serve on HHC’s board and live in Garland County, NEA said in the lawsuit.

The Searcy location is being managed by HHC, and the Arkansas Health Services Permit Agency shows that HHC is still the owner of it.

The complaint didn’t say why NEA waited for three years to file the lawsuit. NEA’s Williams didn’t return a call for comment.



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