False Claims Act looms for healthcare regulation

January 01, 2007

The False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729, et seq., is about to become the worst-kept secret of the healthcare industry. One of the nation's oldest statutes, the FCA has allowed the government to recover more than $3.1 billion in the first nine months of 2006, including an eye-popping $900 million dollar settlement with Tenet Healthcare-the largest FCA recovery ever. And, as if these staggering numbers were not enough to garner attention, as of January 1, 2006, entities that receive $5 million or more per year in Medicaid payments will be required to inform their employees about the FCA. Because employees are the most likely whistleblowers in an FCA lawsuit, the FCA's prominence in the healthcare industry should increase over the next few years.