Health Care Teleconference: Handling Potential Whistleblowers and Responding to Government Investigations
The proper management of potential qui tam relators, or whistleblowers, can be essential to reducing False Claims Act liability and associated legal expenses. Over 80 percent of the government's civil fraud recoveries originate from whistleblower cases, primarily Medicare or Medicaid matters. This pattern will continue, as a recent federal law gives states incentives to enact their own qui tam statutes and requires companies receiving more than $5 million in annual Medicaid revenue to provide information on qui tam laws to their employees. To reduce the risk, every health care provider needs to know: (1) how to communicate effectively with and treat complainants; (2) how to deal with complainants who are wrong about their compliance concerns; and (3) how to deal with departing employees who have expressed compliance concerns. In those instances where investigations are inevitable, health care providers need to know how to counter the government's investigative techniques, including subpoenas, search warrants, and direct government contacts with employees. During the critical, early stages of an investigation, a fumbled response can pose an even greater risk than the underlying matter.