New State False Claims Act Trend Is Evaluated at Southeastern Health Care Fraud Conference in Atlanta

Yesterday I enjoyed leading a panel discussion of the new State False Claims Acts, at the Southeastern Health Care Fraud Conference in Atlanta. Of particular interest to this audience was the new Georgia State False Medicaid Claims Act that became law in May 2007, which has qui tam whistleblower provisions similar to the federal False Claims Act.

Our audience of health care attorneys heard a detailed account of Florida’s successes with its State False Claims Act by Mark S. Thomas, the Chief of Staff and Special Counsel of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. We also learned how the Georgia Attorney General’s Office plans to implement the new State False Medicaid Claims Act in remarks by Charles M. Richards, Senior Assistant Attorney General of the Georgia State Health Care Fraud Control Unit.

Other excellent presentations were made in this seminar organized by my friends Steve Cowen of King & Spalding, LLP, and Joe Whitley of Alston & Bird, LLP. I am grateful to Joe and Steve for the opportunity to participate and explain the False Claims Act, the new Georgia State False Medicaid Claims Act and other state False Claims Acts, some of which have added interesting new wrinkles to health care compliance, by creating new theories of liability not found in the federal Act. (An article explaining some of the new thoeries of liability that these new State False Claims Acts introduce will appear in the October Georgia Bar Journal.)

To explain in depth this new whistleblower law to attorneys, as well as the federal False Claims Act and the new IRS Whistleblower Rewards Program, our firm has already scheduled the “First Annual Whistleblower Law Symposium” in Georgia at the State Bar of Georgia Headquarters in Atlanta on September 20, 2007. We are excited that joining us is the leader of Texas’ already hugely successful effort to recover damages for Medicaid fraud, Pat O’Connell, the Chief of the Civil Medicaid Fraud Section of the Texas Office of Attorney General. Other nationally-known speakers will join us as well on September 20.