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AG encourages whistleblower lawsuits to fight fraud

August 19, 2010
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The Indiana Attorney General’s Office wants health care and pharmaceutical industry workers to know that they have the ability to file lawsuits and get protection as whistleblowers, and that could mean getting a portion of any settlement or damages that results from the suit.

With Medicare and Medicaid fraud a multi-billion dollar problem nationally, the state’s highest attorney is reaching out to workers who may be impacted by these issues to alert them of their rights as whistleblowers in stopping this type of state and federal fraud.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller is trying to raise public awareness on the topic, which comes as the health care and pharmaceutical industries face sweeping reforms in the coming years and more people are exposed to these scenarios.

“The idea is to persuade workers already concerned about fraud to raise those claims under the False Claims Act,” Zoeller said. “If individuals on the inside are aware of fraud … and reporting it internally has not stopped the fraud, they may be reluctant to come forward for fear of being ostracized from future employment in their chosen profession. While we would hope people would report fraud because that’s the right thing to do, we understand that the potential of a substantial financial reward may be necessary to prompt insiders to come forward.”

The AG’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is supervising the effort, which involves the False Claims Act that’s existed in federal and state law for years and applies to government contract work. A whistleblower action starts when someone like an employee files a private lawsuit against a provider or company, alleging that business committed fraud on a government contract. That employee-plaintiff basically brings the suit on the government’s behalf, the AG said. If the government wins at trial or reaches a monetary settlement with the provider or company where the fraud occurred, then that whistleblower may receive 15 to 30 percent of the proceeds.

During the past year, the state has been involved in a handful of these whistleblower actions that have alleged billions of dollars in fraud, according to the AG’s Office. Those include suits against Pfizer, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, and the South Bend mental health services facility called Madison Center. Some causes have been settled while others remain ongoing.
 

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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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