Mich. House Passes Medicaid Whistleblower Act

October 9, 2005

The Michigan House of Representatives has passed H.B. 4577, the Medicaid Whistleblower Protection Statute, by a 106-2 vote. Rep. David Law (R-Commerce Township) unveiled the legislation in March 2005.

The statute would amend the Medicaid False Claims Act to provide whistleblowers with legal protection. This bill will also provide financial incentive to those persons willing to bring a civil suit against and assist in the investigation and prosecution of a violator of the Medicaid False Claims Act.

According to Attorney General Michael Cox, national studies estimate that between three and ten percent of a state’s Medicaid costs are founded in fraudulent claims. For Michigan, this equates to anywhere between $225 million – $800 million. In addition to the savings to the Medicaid budget, the successful prosecution of the fraud will result in penalties awarded to the State — penalties that are three times the amount of restitution.

The Attorney General’s Health Care Fraud Division is one of 49 federally certified Medicaid Fraud Control Units. Medicaid fraud investigations and prosecutions include false billings, unlawful delivery of controlled substances, practicing medicine without a license, kickbacks, and bribery schemes. Abuse and neglect investigations and prosecutions include physical assault, criminal sexual conduct, identity theft, theft of residents’ property and funds, and harmful neglect in Michigan residential care facilities.

The division also initiates civil actions, including asset forfeiture and claims for Medicaid overpayments.

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