Serial whistle-blowers make millions filing multiple FCA suits

People are making careers out of filing False Claims Act lawsuits against healthcare companies, causing some to question the incentives provided to whistle-blowers, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

One of the serial whistle-blowers is William LaCorte, MD, who has filed 12 lawsuits accusing healthcare organizations of defrauding Medicare and other government-run programs. Over the last 20 years, Dr. LaCorte has made $38 million from his cut of successful qui tam lawsuits brought under the FCA.

Whistle-blowers began receiving monetary incentives for bringing FCA suits in 1986, and in 2009 Congress increased the incentives. Whistle-blowers whose lawsuits are successful are entitled to up to 30 percent of a settlement or judgment in their case.

With at least 25 people or groups filing five or more suits under the FCA since 1986, Dr. LaCorte is not the only serial whistle-blower.

Government agencies rely on citizens, such as Dr. LaCorte, to bring violations of the FCA to light. However, critics feel the incentives provided to whistle-blowers under the FCA have gone too far by encouraging people to file lawsuits that are many times meritless.

A former U.S Deputy Attorney General, David Ogden, who now defends companies in FCA cases, believes the incentives lead to costly litigation based on speculative claims. He has proposed changes to the FCA that make it harder to sue, and he also supports reducing the amount of damages under the act, according to the report.

More articles on the False Claims Act:

Reduced penalties under the False Claims Act proposed 
10 recent healthcare industry lawsuits 
Government files Anti-Kickback, False Claims lawsuit against Missouri neurosurgeon 

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