“It’s certainly a niche practice,” whistleblower lawyer W. Stacy Miller, II noted when he explains how he developed his practice of representing those who report fraud against the government. For a healthcare fraud whistleblower lawyer to be effective, the lawyer needs to be skilled in both medicine and law – and that’s a niche.
Learning medicine started early for Stacy, whose father is a Raleigh, N.C physician. “Some families debated politics around the dinner table, our family discussed medicine,” says Miller. An understanding of medicine and the medical profession has served Miller well in his law practice. For the past 25 years, Miller’s law practice has centered around medicine, whether representing individuals who have been critically injured or representing whistleblowers who report healthcare fraud.
“Medicine is very intriguing, and its takes dedication and commitment to become a physician. The doctors I know are incredibly dedicated and care deeply about their patients. My hero is a doctor,” says Miller, referring to his father and namesake, W. Stacy Miller.
Like any profession, the healthcare profession has those who take advantage of the system. According to the Department of Justice, in 2017 the government recovered $2.4 billion dollars from those who committed healthcare fraud. The most common healthcare care fraud is Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The tool used by the government to recover the defrauded money is the False Claims Act.
The FCA incentivizes whistleblowers (individuals who report the fraud) by allowing them to receive a percentage of any recovery. Most whistleblowers are company insiders, employees who are aware of the fraudulent billing practices. An employee may be knowledgeable of the medical billing but most often the employee is not familiar with the law. That’s where Miller comes in, he represents and helps whistleblowers navigate the False Claims Act.
“It’s important to choose a lawyer that is experienced and has a deep understanding of medicine,” states Miller.
The federal False Claims Act was first implement by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. North Carolina, along with many other states, has also created a North Carolina False Claims Act. Both the federal FCA and the North Carolina FCA provide whistleblower protection against workplace retaliation by employers. If an employee is fired, harassed, received a reduction in pay, demoted and/or has been a victim of discrimination, the FCA allows for 2x back pay, reinstatement of employment, compensation for special damages, and attorneys’ fees.
The body of case law that interprets the False Claims Act is vast and intricate. When you couple the law with medicine, you have a niche practice within the practice of law. Not many lawyers are suited for this type of practice. For Miller, he come by it naturally, it all started with those family dinner discussions about medicine. And he plans to pass it on, “My wife is a corporate and tax lawyer. I guess my son, W. Stacy Miller, III, will get an ear full of both medicine and law.”
Stacy Miller, II practices law in Raleigh, NC and represents whistleblowers throughout the east coast. He has successfully secured millions of dollars for those who report healthcare fraud. He has been rate preeminent in his field by his legal peers and was inducted in the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers. His clients have included doctors, nurses, medical assistants, lab technicians and other medical providers.