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Auditor Recommends Reauthorizing Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act

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Seattle, WAA Washington state law encouraging medical whistleblowers to report Medicaid fraud has been a success, according to a report by auditors. The program, which allows citizens to report Medicaid fraud by providers, took effect in 2012 but expires in 2016. The auditor has recommended reauthorizing the Act to encourage further recovery.

According to the report, Medicaid provides coverage to 1.75 million residents of Washington state, including low-income people and people with disabilities. Medicaid fraud occurs when a healthcare provider knowingly submits claims for payments that the provider is not eligible for, such as billing for goods or services that were not provided, or were of a lower quality or otherwise misrepresented; knowingly making false statements; or knowingly concealing material facts.

Under Washington’s Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act, the office of Washington’s Attorney General was able to pursue cases of Medicaid fraud that it was previously unable to pursue do to lack of authority. According to the report, the Attorney General has investigated 29 in-state cases of Medicaid fraud under the Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act. Furthermore, the total fraud recoveries increased from $69.2 million to $75.6 million.

In addition to the government recovering funds, individual whistleblowers that bring cases forward may be eligible to share in a portion of the money recovered. In some cases, individuals can also file civil qui tam cases. Under Washington’s Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act, three qui tam cases have reportedly been filed, with one resulting in the relator - the person who filed the lawsuit - receiving $292,000.

Furthermore, despite concerns that the Act would result in frivolous lawsuits being filed against Medicaid providers, the auditor found no evidence of any frivolous lawsuits being brought. Although at least one qui tam lawsuit was dismissed, the judge did not deem the suit frivolous.

As a result of the increased recoveries, the Legislative Auditor recommended Washington reauthorize the Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.

Federally, individuals who suspect a person or organization is committing healthcare fraud can bring forward claims against those responsible. Whistleblowers are protected by state and/or federal law and may be eligible to receive a portion of any money recovered.

One such recently settled lawsuit reported resulted in two whistleblowers sharing in a $1.1 million award.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

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Medicare/Medicaid could catch a lot of fraud themselves if they would just compare names of referring doctors with a list of retired physicians!

Posted by

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I was a whistleblower I turned in a company for 2.1 million dollars. They were ordered to pay 50 thousand and only ever paid 20 thousand. I got screwed with jobs when it came out I was the one that turned them in and the owner is running a medical transport company that uses Medicare and Medicaid payments!!! Never supposed to be able to own a company like this again. Even the same freaking name and his daughter is listed as ceo yet it's at his house and he drives!! I will never help the government again. No follow through on legit cases. And where I work now years and years of fraud. I won't turn them in or offer any info.

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