Maryland False Claims Act Recoveries in 2012
According to recent published sources, Maryland collected approximately $10 million under state and federal False Claim Act provisions in 2012. Examples include a nearly $160,000 settlement against a Baltimore County Home Health Agency accused of submitted fraudulent claims for a home health care worker for services not provided and close to $800,000 against an area hospital for alleged false claims.
In 2010, the Maryland Legislature passed its version of the federal False Claims Act. Generally, the Maryland False Claims Act, like its federal counterpart, allows whistleblowers to initiate a civil action in the name of the State against health care providers for fraudulent claims. See, Md Code, Health General, § 2-601, et seq. A case is filed under seal and notice must be given to the State to make a determination whether it wants to prosecute the case within sixty (60) days. Md Code, HG, § 2-604. The State, however, can get an indefinite number of extensions to investigate the claim during which time the case remains under seal. Id. These same general provisions apply under federal law, as well, with the one notable exception that Maryland’s False Claims Act is limited to only health care claims. Compare, 31 U.S.C. § 3729, et seq. with Md Code, HG, § 2-601, et seq.
Regarding damages, a health care provider can be fined up to $10,000 per violation, plus up to three times the damages sustained by the State. Md. Code, HG, § 2-602(b). The whistleblower typically stands to recover somewhere between 15% and 25% of the total recovery. Md. Code, HG, § 2-605. Health care employers should also be aware that there are provisions to prevent retaliation against employees who act as whistleblowers. Md. Code, HG, § 2-607. Also, it is noteworthy that the prevailing party in a False Claims Act litigation may be entitled to recover attorneys’ fees. Md. Code, HG, § 2-605.
Professional Health Care Litigation Defense
Professionals concerned with healthcare litigation involving the False Claims Act should consult with legal counsel for specific guidance. For more information on the False Claims Act, contact the attorneys at Walker, Murphy & Nelson, LLP today.
Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein constitutes legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. All persons reviewing this should consult counsel for advice regarding any specific legal questions and any unauthorized use of this information is expressly prohibited.