The state budget passed this week by the Legislature repeals a law that encourages whistle-blowers with evidence of Medicaid fraud to come forward.
Wisconsin has recovered millions of dollars from lawsuits initiated by whistle-blowers since the law was enacted in 2007.
The repeal of the law — no more than a few words and a reference to a section in the state statute — was included in an omnibus motion on Medicaid by the Joint Finance Committee and drew little attention.
There were no hearings or even public discussion by the committee.
Funny, I thought the GOP was all about rooting out fraud in expensive federal programs OH WAIT:
In the largest and most promising lawsuits, the federal government frequently intervenes and takes over the litigation.
The federal False Claims Act has resulted in settlements with pharmaceutical and other health care companies that have totaled billions of dollars.
This isn’t the GOPSexy kind of fraud, where a poor woman lies about her benefits to bilk the state out of $250. This is the kind of fraud their friends do!
Cross represented a whistle-blower in a lawsuit that recently led to a $31.5 million settlement with PharMerica, which provides pharmacy services to nursing homes and other institutional customers as well as other services in 45 states.
The lawsuit alleged the company illegally dispensed drugs, such as OxyContin and fentanyl, without valid prescriptions, and falsely billed the government for them.
Cross also represented a nurse in a lawsuit against Odyssey Healthcare Inc., one of the country’s largest providers of hospice care and now part of Gentiva Health Services, that led to a $25 million settlement.
In another recent whistle-blower lawsuit, Extendicare Health Services Inc., a nursing-home chain based in Milwaukee at the time, and a subsidiary agreed to pay $38 million to the federal government and eight states, including Wisconsin, to settle allegations that it improperly billed Medicare and Medicaid.
It is excellent that we are no longer protecting people who want to help stop that kind of thing.