Deciding to blow the whistle on corrupt practice within the healthcare sector is not an easy decision, but healthcare whistleblowers make a huge contribution to both the economy and America’s democracy. Unfortunately, corruption in healthcare is rife and more and more organizations think they can defraud the government. Many of them do, but thanks to our many brave whistleblowers, this is becoming increasingly difficult. If you are considering blowing the whistle on healthcare fraud and want to ensure that you succeed in your qui tam litigation, you should read this first.
Be Sure to Move Fast
Whether your motives are financial, moral, or both, you need to move fast as you might not be the only whistleblower in the company. Most qui tam laws regarding whistleblowers have a “first-to-file” rule. If you want to claim the financial reward on offer, you need to be the first to blow the whistle on a particular fraudulent scheme.
This does not mean you want to make a hasty decision. You still need to consult with a lawyer and consider all your evidence and chances of success before raising any red flags. You also need to think about the consequences for you and your family.
Hire an Experienced Qui Tam Lawyer
The road to successful qui tam litigation will be partly because of your evidence, albeit a large indispensable part, and partly due to the skill, knowledge and competency of your lawyer.
Qui tam law is complex. So make sure you hire a lawyer with experience in this field. Ask them about their history in qui tam litigation, their success rate and the resources they have available. Then make a decision. Remember time is of the essence, but making the right decision is more crucial. You need to find a balance between the two.
Your lawyer, besides being a brilliant litigator, must also be trustworthy. The two of you will be working closely together and there needs to be mutual respect and trust, as well as a good rapport, for you to stand any chance of winning.
If you have colleagues who have additional evidence, you might want to join forces and form a whistleblowing team. You can then all collate your evidence and hire a lawyer to represent you as a collective. This way your case would be that much stronger and as a team of people you will have more support. Of course, you’ll also have to share any reward, but morality is usually as much of a driver as finance.
Keep All Your Evidence Safe
This sounds like an obvious point, but you’d me amazed how many cases fall though because whistleblowers lose their evidence. Remember, guilty parties would love you not to have that evidence and will often go to criminal means to destroy or steal it. Make sure this does not happen as without your evidence you do not have a case.
Once you’ve done all the hard work, such as gathering evidence, hiring a lawyer and filing your claim, you now need to be patient. These cases can take months and often years to complete. There will be investigations and more investigations. There might be hearings and witnesses called, and everything else that a federal law case may require. Do not expect a quick result or a fast track to riches. When you file qui tam you’re in it for the long haul. If you believe in your cause and your case is strong, stick with it; it will be worth it in the end. That’s because what you are doing is the right thing to do.
Keep it Dark
While you might be bursting with pride at joining the brave ranks of whistleblowers, the less people you tell about this the better. You do not want to risk information leaking to the wrong side or to the media, possibly destroying your chances of success. This means; do not tell your friends or family, and certainly not your colleagues, that you are even considering bringing a qui tam case.
If a colleague hears you are going to blow the whistle, they might decide to jump the gun on you, ruining any chance you may have of getting a reward. Legally, you will be prohibited from disclosing any evidence related to the lawsuit, or even its existence, during the government’s investigation, at least not without the court’s approval.
Qui Tam Laws Offer Protection
With the explosion of whistleblower cases over the last few years, the The False Claims Act has been amended, making it more effective. Many states are actively encouraging whistleblowing, offering huge rewards in some cases. The government has also recognised that healthcare whistleblowers need protection as well as a financial incentive, and tries hard to provide this. As a prospective whistleblower, it’s important for you to know your rights, so make sure you do. Contact our qui tam legal team; we offer discrete and expert legal advice.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.