Tony Munter on the False Claims Act and Public Safety
Here is a video interview of Tony Munter discussing the False Claims Act and public safety.
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Hi, I’m Tony Munter and I’m an attorney…I’ve talked before about fraud and health care, and I guess I’ll just have to keep talking because the problem just isn’t going anywhere overnight.
Here’s the point: any time the United States is defrauded, it can become the issue in a False Claims Act case. Since the government pays for so much of health care, that means that the government is potentially the party that loses a lot of money in health care fraud.
But what if you don’t care about the money so much, you just care about practices? Illegal practices, which also happen to cause harm to patients. Well, the fact that the government has money involved means that any time there is a systematic problem with the way health care is provided to people, then potentially, the best way to address the medical issue is actually through the False Claims Act. If it’s just one case involving patient harm, then that may be a totally different kind of issue. But if it’s a situation in which a health care provider is putting business interests ahead of patient care, and that is also affecting the treatment those patients get, having the government’s money involved is a really good thing, because it gives a potential plaintiff a way to file a case and complain about practices which could harm us all.
The False Claims Act has special provisions that give individuals the right to sue when the government’s money is involved. So when it’s a matter of public safety, the fact that the government’s money is involved gives you the possibility of fighting in a much more powerful way. Even if you do not think you want to make money out of a case, but you want to report it simply because it harms patients, the False Claims Act may be the very best way to go.