Congress Looks at Reforming the False Claims Act
The False Claims Act was originally created during the Civil War to allow ordinary citizens to sue fraudulent companies on behalf of the government. Companies that intentionally sold low-quality goods to the Union Army could be brought to task by civilians who had information about the wrongdoing, through what is known as a qui tam lawsuit. The whistleblower would receive a portion, usually around 10% of the recovery, and the government would recoup lost or stolen funds that it might otherwise not have found out about.
These days, the major source of False Claims Act suits is the healthcare industry, which bills the government, through Medicare and Medicaid, for care services, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and numerous other costs that fall under the umbrella of medical services. Sometimes, providers charge for work that was never done, or that was not done to the standards required by the government. Sometimes, companies charge for malfunctioning medical devices or drugs. Often, when this occurs, the fraudulent companies are protected by the sheer scope of their industry, as regulators have trouble accurately measuring the performance of these healthcare contractors. When this happens, it’s often the case that only employees are aware of the nature and existence of the malfeasance, and can take action through a qui tam lawsuit. Our San Mateo whistleblower attorneys can advise employees of their rights and of the appropriate course of action for reporting misconduct.
When employees become aware of wrongdoing, and wish to act to curtail or prevent it, it can be vitally important that they speak to a lawyer before proceeding. Whistleblowers are often targeted by their companies if they inform the government of their actions, even though they are protected by the provisions of the FCA. They may be fired, demoted, or otherwise harassed for disclosing information to the government.
Congress has recently begun looking at the issue of Falsa Claims Act qui tam lawsuits against the healthcare industry. Although healthcare companies claim that qui tam lawsuits have a detrimental effect on their ability to do business, the committee reaffirmed that whistleblowers are essential to pursuing justice in the case of government fraud, and that their rights must be protected to preserve the ability to effectively combat fraudulent claims.
If you have information about fraud carried out against the government by a healthcare provider or other company, contact the Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our San Mateo whistleblower attorneys have experience handling qui tam cases, SEC and IRS recovery actions, and have dealt with the healthcare industry on numerous occasions.