Columbia, S.C. (PRWEB) August 16, 2012
The federal government’s recently launched public-private partnership to combat healthcare fraud will depend on the courage of whistleblowers who come forward to report illegal activity, South Carolina False Claims Act lawyer Bert Louthian said today.
Louthian was reacting to the partnership announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Justice Department in late July. The partnership will be designed to share information and best practices in order to better detect and prevent fraudulent healthcare billings, according to a HHS news release.
“This partnership indicates a strong government and industry push to stamp out healthcare fraud, and in that sense, it indicates that there will be strong support for those brave individuals who report illegal conduct,” Louthian said.
The attorney is a partner with The Louthian Law Firm based in Columbia, South Carolina. In most situations False Claims Act cases can be brought in any jurisdiction, so the firm is able to assist claimants in South Carolina as well as other parts of the country.
“Whisteblowers have always played a crucial role in revealing fraud in the healthcare industry,” Louthian said. “If this new effort is going to be successful, it’s going to need individuals to come forward and ‘blow the whistle’ on those who are stealing healthcare dollars.”
According to the HHS, the new partnership will include federal and state officials, private health insurance organizations and other healthcare anti-fraud groups. The goal is to improve the sharing of information on specific healthcare fraud schemes.
Individuals will provide most of that information, Louthian said. He pointed to a May 2010 New England Journal of Medicine report stating that whisteblowers initiate 90 percent of U.S. healthcare fraud cases.
The False Claims Act – also called the Whistleblower Act, Qui Tam Statute or Lincoln Law – gives ordinary citizens the power to sue companies or individuals over financial fraud committed against the government.
Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers may collect as much as 15 to 30 percent of any funds recovered in a successful qui tam lawsuit. In many cases, the federal government will “intervene,” or take part in the lawsuit, which can increase the likelihood of success, Louthian said.
Healthcare fraud qui tam actions often involve fraudulent billing of government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, Louthian said. They can also involve conduct such as pharmaceutical companies advertising or marketing drugs for uses that are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Healthcare fraud is a serious problem, and the False Claims Act recognizes the valuable service that whisteblowers provide in ending this problem as well as other wrongful conduct,” Louthian said.
If an individual believes they have information relating to fraudulent health care billing, it is important to seek help from an attorney with experience handling whistleblower cases and to report the illegal activity to appropriate government officials, Louthian said.
“A False Claims Act lawsuit can be a long and complex process,” he said. “That is why it’s crucial to have an attorney by your side, protecting your rights and interests at every stage.”
About The Louthian Law Firm
The Louthian Law Firm, P.A., of Columbia, S.C., has been obtaining fair compensation for its clients since 1959. The firm was founded by Herbert Louthian, who has more than 50 years of trial experience and is licensed to practice in all courts in South Carolina. In addition to whistleblower claims,the Louthian Law Firm also handles personal injury cases involving medical malpractice; car, truck and motorcycle accidents; and other serious and catastrophic injuries throughout South Carolina. The firm’s office is located at The Marlboro Building, Suite 300, 1116 Blanding Street, Columbia, S.C. (local phone (803) 454-1200). For a free, confidential case evaluation, contact the firm by phone at (888) 829-0488 or through its online contact form.