A recent congressional investigation revealed that from 2001 to 2006, the federal government paid more than $1 billion for fraudulent claims under the Medicare program. According to investigators, medical suppliers defrauded Medicare by using Medicare ID numbers for doctors who were deceased or retired, and by submitting bills with invalid diagnosis codes. To prevent future payment of fraudulent claims, investigators encourage the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to consider new procedures in determining whether diagnosis codes are medically related to the supplies being reimbursed, and to deny claims with invalid codes. Investigators suggest that if CMS does not change its review process, Medicare will continue to be at risk for fraud, waste and abuse.
The Employment Law Group® law firm routinely represents relators in qui tam actions to recover fraud against the government. For more infromation about qui tam litigation, click here.
Attorneys at The Employment Law Group® law firm join the Government Accountability Project (GAP) and 226 other diverse organizations in their petition for Congress to include federal whistleblower protections in the bailout bill. This week, GAP and other public interests groups delivered a letter to legislators emphasizing the need for comprehensive whistleblower protections, including the right to a jury trial and expansion of protections to screeners, scientists and national security whistleblowers. To express support for comprehensive whistleblower protections, go to www.WhistleblowerAction.org and sign the Citizen’s Whistleblower Petition.
The Employment Law Group® law firm frequently represents whistleblowers in the financial services industry. For more information about federal corporate whistleblower protections, click here.
In a report titled, “Running the Gauntlet: The Campaign for Credible Corporate Whistleblower Rights,” the Government Accountability Project (GAP) calls for an overhaul of whistleblower protection laws for corporate and other private sector employees. The report documents the need to continue to pass sector-by-sector whistleblower laws and suggests strategies for a “treacherous legal landscape” that corporate whistleblowers encounter in pursuing retaliation claims. According to the report, Congress is moving in the right direction by passing best practices laws like the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 to restore corporate free speech protection. To read the full report, click here. For more information about legislation designed to strengthen protections for corporate whistleblowers, click here.
In Ellis v. CommScope, Inc. of North Carolina, a Texas district court judge rejected an employer’s attempt to impose a heightened pleading standard on SOX plaintiffs. CommScope moved to dismiss on the grounds that Ellis did not plead scienter in alleging that he disclosed shareholder fraud. The district court rejected CommScope’s “flawed” reasoning, holding that at the pleading stage, “Ellis is not required to show that CommScope acted with scienter” and instead “merely needs to plead facts showing he had a reasonable belief that CommScope acted with scienter.”
In Dixon v. U.S. Dep’t of the Interior., the Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) held that Earle Dixon, a federal employee of the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) engaged in protected activity under the whistleblower provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) when he raised concerns about the contamination of a Nevada copper mine and told his supervisors that the intergovernmental effort to clean up the mine was non-compliant with CERCLA regulations. In affirming the ALJ’s decision, the ARB concluded that the BLM failed to prove that Dixon was terminated for poor performance or other reasons independent of his protected activity and was therefore liable for whistleblower retaliation. The ARB also affirmed the ALJ’s decision awarding Dixon back pay and compensatory damages.