In addition to the federal False Claims Act, several states have enacted their own version of the False Claims statute. Whistleblowers need to be aware that not all states with False Claims acts are willing to pay whistleblowers, and some of the states that do pay whistleblower awards limit claims only to those involving Medicaid.
Several states whistleblower programs do not offer monetary awards for reporting fraud against the state. Most whistleblower statutes say they will protect the whistleblower from employer retaliation and nothing more. Generally, these “protection only” statutes do little to deter employers from retaliating against employees who speak up about wrongdoing, and wrongful termination suits typically work against employees. However, qui tam statutes are the most effective means of combatting state fraud. States update and add False Claims statutes regularly so please contact Stengle Law to get the most recent changes in each state.
The Deficit Reduction Act (DRA)
Fourteen of the states that have enacted False Claims statutes have been further incentivized by the federal government to prosecute misuse of government funds. The Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005 (S.1932) contained provisions encouraging states to enact their own False Claims Acts by granting states with these statutes a portion of any federal Medicaid funds recovered through Medicaid-related actions brought under these state laws. In other words, qualifying states can get more money if they prosecute a claim under their own False Claims statute. To learn if your state qualified for the DRA incentives, contact Stengle Law.
Total States with False Claims Acts
Thirty two states plus the District of Columbia have some form of False Claims act. Several states do not permit the whistleblower to claim a portion of the government’s recovery. In other words, the governments in those states can prosecute a wrongdoer for defrauding the state but will not pay a whistleblower reward.
Several states with qui tam False Claims statutes limit claims to those involving Medicaid. This means that whistleblowers bringing claims under those states’ laws cannot claim a portion of the recovery in non-Medicaid cases but can get a reward for Medicaid related claims.
Additionally, several states have no False Claims Act at all. To learn which states might be interested in prosecuting your whistleblower claim, please call Stengle Law.