Families scramble for solution after hospice scandal

Families scramble for solution after hospice scandal

TILTON -- A fraud scandal cut off medical care for dozens, just when some needed it most.
TILTON -- A fraud scandal cut off medical care for dozens, just when some needed it most. Patients depended on Passages Hospice until its owner, Seth Gillman, was arrested for Medicaid fraud. Nurses were sent home. The company said patients would be taken care of. WCIA-3's Megan Brilley finds out that's not true.

Patients were left behind. Some weren't given any notice. A lot of patients are terminally ill at home or in nursing homes and need constant care. One woman says she had to act fast to keep her mom alive.

"She's my mom. I promised I would never put her in a nursing home."

So when Shelly Rangel found out her mom had colon cancer, she moved in to be by her side.

"It's huge. Your parent goes from not being your parent anymore. You do the role reversal."

With a catheter which needed changing and her mom's diagnosis of Alzheimer's Rangel knew she couldn't do it alone.

"Choosing hospice is hard enough because I know what hospice means. It means it's the end."

For the past year, nurses from Passages Hospice visited her mom several times a week. But this week was different.

"Nobody came. Nobody came."

Then Rangel got a call. Passages Hospice wouldn't be helping anymore. No notice, no explanation.

"I didn't know what I was going to do. I felt completely defeated."

She's not alone. Nurses say fifteen patients in Central Illinois are in the same boat; some on the brink of death, left without care. Rangel spent days making calls and doing research. Just in time, she got hospice care for her mom.

"It's a lot of work, but in the end, it's going to be worth it."

Calls to Passages have not been returned. Gillman is awaiting trial. Investigators say he forced nurses to lie about patients' diagnosis, scamming millions from Medicare and Medicaid. He could face up to 15 years in prison.

Employees aren't taking this lightly. They wrote an open letter to their former boss:

        Following your indictment, we were abandoned to defend our
        personal integrity and care for our patients with no resources,
        no communication and no support from you. We will continue
        to serve with integrity, which is more than we can say for you.
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