The Econo Times had an article from Christine Zack. Ms. Zack is an in-house attorney for the national for-profit chains Fundamental and Mariner. She is also the Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer at Mariner Health Central, Inc. and Senior Vice President, Chief Risk Officer of Fundamental Administrative Services, LLC.
Zack was recently a panelist in a discussion moderated by Linda Woolf, a partner at Goodell DeVries Leech & Dann, LLP. The panel presentation was hosted by The Network of Trial Law Firms, Inc. and discussed whistle-blower actions
In 2015, more than 700 cases were commenced under the False Claims Act. More than 600 of them were whistle-blower cases where plaintiffs can win a share of the recovery. Whistle-blowers and fraud cases are commonplace and part of business for the profit driven health care industry.
In fiscal year 2015, the Department of Justice obtained more than $3.5 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the government. Of the almost $3.6 billion, $1.9 billion was from the health care industry involving unnecessary or inadequate care, kickbacks to health care providers, or overcharging for goods and services paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health care programs.
Ms. Zack recommended conducting internal investigations, working with current employees to appropriately prepare them for potential litigation and on protecting confidential information. “The number of whistle-blower claims in healthcare and the related payouts have been growing in recent years. In-house counsel must be champions for a company-wide culture of compliance to protect their respective organizations from both genuine and opportunistic whistleblower claims.” said Ms. Zack.