Healthcare Reform Law Changes Encourage Whistleblower Lawsuits
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Anti-Kickback Statute amendments
The following fraud and abuse amendments to the Anti-Kickback Statute of the Healthcare Reform Law provide that:
- Violations do not have to be intentional. An AKS violation may be established without showing that an individual knew of the statute's prohibitions or intended to violate it.
- Manufacturers may share in the liability. A violation of the statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim under the False Claims Act which may affect manufacturers who don't submit actual claims to the government.
- More healthcare industry violations may be subject to FCA. The beneficiary inducement statute now applies to providers, practitioners, suppliers, health plans and healthcare service entities and may make many health care industry activities subject to False Claims Act violations.
Qui Tam Public Disclosure Bar amendments
The following amendments to the Qui Tam Public Disclosure Bar of the Healthcare Reform Law provide that:
- Public disclosure bar is not jurisdictional. The public disclosure bar has been amended and is no longer jurisdictional and does not require dismissal if the government opposes dismissal.
- Direct knowledge no longer required. The whistleblower, or relator, used to have direct and independent knowledge of the fraudulent activity in order to file a Qui Tam lawsuit according to the original source definition. The amendments now provide that the relator must simply provide the information to the government prior to the public disclosure and that the information must be independent of and materially add to the publicly disclosed allegations.
All of these amendments potentially make filing a whistleblower lawsuit easier which not only benefit the government, but also the whistleblower.
Whistleblower settlements & verdicts
Whistleblowers generally collect a substantial percentage of what was recovered and many whistleblowers have collected millions of dollars for their efforts. If you know of fraudulent activity against the government, contact an experienced Qui Tam lawyer to discuss your situation and find out how the whistleblower process works.