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Whistleblowers, The False Claims Act, and Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Whistleblowers, The False Claims Act, and Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Have you witnessed patient abuse or neglect at your loved one’s nursing home, long-term care, or hospice facility? 

While many long-term care facilities provide excellent care for their residents, recent reporting shows that a staggeringly high number engage in practices that actively harm their residents. Offenses can include shortcuts like inadequate staffing, falsification of medical records, marketing unlicensed drugs or other medical processes, and much more. 

If you’ve witnessed these kinds of practices, are you aware that there are laws in place that could help you right those wrongs -- and collect a cash award? 

It’s all because of a little-known piece of federal law called the False Claims Act. 

Back during the Lincoln administration, the US passed something called the False Claims Act. The act hinges on the idea that the government uses taxpayer dollars to pay for all kinds of things: military supplies, social security…and Medicare and Medicaid. However, the government is too big to run each of those programs itself, so it lets other organizations administer them - kind of like a franchise system. 

But what happens when an organization uses that distance to inflate its own payout -- doing things like billing the government for doctor’s visits that never happened or understaffing facilities to maximize their profits? 

That’s what the False Claims Act is for: to make sure these franchises aren’t cheating the government out of the money it’s allocated for social welfare programs like Medicare and Medicaid. The act says that people with knowledge of someone cheating on their government billing can file a “whistleblower” lawsuit against them. 

If they win the suit, the whistleblower typically takes home about 15 to 30 percent of the damages -- which are typically pretty hefty in their own right. The False Claims Act also outlines protections from retaliation at work, like harassment or firings. 

Our whistleblower attorneys represent victims, families, physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals -- anyone who has inside knowledge of a system that harms our loved ones and defraud government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. 

Saints, Sinners and Heroes by Brian Mahany

Led by Brian Mahany, author of Saints, Sinners, and Heroes, are some of the best in the nation at what we do. Some of our team’s recent wins even include the largest whistleblower settlement in the history of the country -- clocking in at $16 billion -- and another $92 million verdict. 

It’s important to keep your eyes peeled because the problem is more widespread than you might think. Every year, Medicaid fraud costs taxpayers billions of dollars. The Department of Health and Human Services recently released the results of a four-year-long survey of hospice facilities nationwide, many of which serve recipients of Medicare and Medicaid. 

More than 80 percent of the facilities in the study had at least one deficiency, and around 10 percent violate government regulations so gravely that they seriously endanger the health of their patients. And the complaints the study turned up were horrifying: they ranged from looking past signs of sexual assault to neglecting a wound for so long that the patient’s leg got infected and had to be amputated. 

In other words: these corrupt centers are using some of the most vulnerable people in the government’s care to make a few extra bucks. They know that the government can’t be everywhere at once, and they exploit the disenfranchised -- and intimidate those who might speak up. 

If you have information about mistreatment or misallocation of funds at one of these facilities, please contact us. We can help you. 

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