North Texas

Frisco Hospice Executive Admits Role in Overdosing Patients to Maximize Profits

Melanie Murphey of Novus Health Services pleaded guilty to health-care fraud charges

A former executive of a North Texas hospice on Thursday admitted her role in an alleged $60 million scheme that included overdosing patients to "hasten their deaths," according to a court document.

Melanie Murphey, operations director for Novus Health Services in Frisco, pleaded guilty to federal health-care fraud charges. She faces up to ten years in prison.

She is expected to testify against 15 others involved in the alleged conspiracy, including Novus’ owner Bradley Harris and his wife Amy.

In court documents detailing her crime, Murphey said she was the "go-between" between Bradley Harris and five nurses and five doctors who are also charged in the alleged conspiracy. The others have pleaded not guilty.

Murphey acknowledged she falsified paperwork to admit patients who weren’t even eligible for hospice services and took directions from Harris designed to maximize profits.

"These directions included Bradley Harris’s instructing nurses to intentionally overmedicate beneficiaries with medications such as hydromorphone and morphine with the intent to hasten their deaths," Murphey said in the document, known as a factual resume.

Bradley Harris, an accountant with no medical training, would decide which medications the hospice’s patients should receive, Murphey said, admitting patients were accepted into hospice care without seeing doctors face-to-face as required.

If patients were on hospice too long and no longer profitable, Harris ordered increases in "whatever narcotic was being used, generally morphine, Dilaudid or Ativan," Murphey said.

"Bradley Harris ordered these increases in medication because he wanted the beneficiaries to die," according to the document.

An FBI search warrant quoted Harris as texting a nurse: "You need to make this patient go bye-bye."

Murphey also admitted she falsified Do Not Resuscitate orders, or DNR’s, to avoid having to pay for ambulance trips to a hospital if the patient’s family called 911.

She also admitted helping destroy evidence after they became aware of the FBI investigation.

Read the full factual resume below.

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