Whistleblowers who report Medicare and Medicaid fraud may be entitled to an award and protection under the False Claims Act.
The False Claims Act was enacted to encourage inside employees, who have knowledge of fraud against government programs, to report the fraud. To encourage whistleblowers, the FCA allows whistleblowers to receive a percentage of any recovery.
Whistleblowers must follow specific requirements set out in the False Claims Act in order to be eligible for an award. Whistleblower claims are call “qui tam” complaints are required to be filed under seal. If the government choses to intervene in the case, then the government’s lawyers will be responsible for prosecuting the claim. If successful, the whistleblower may receive up to 25% of any recovery.
Damages for fraud under the False Claims Act are trebled and also include significant fines. For example, if the defendant fraudulently billed Medicare and Medicaid $500,000.00 in improper billings, damages under the FCA would be $1,500,000.00 plus fines.
The FCA also contains provisions that protect whistleblowers from workplace retaliation by an employer. The remedies include two times backpay, reinstatement, special damages, cost and attorneys’ fees.
It is important for a whistleblower to speak with an experienced whistleblower lawyer prior to reporting the fraud. If a whistleblower fails to follow specific requirements under the FCA, the whistleblower could forfeit an award.
If you are considering becoming a whistleblower, contact us for a free consultation – or call 919-348-4361.