Whistleblower suits that reveal Medicaid fraud in Texas have grabbed the attention of the Texas Legislature–which apparently recognizes how powerful state False Claims Acts can be.
Today’s Houston Chronicle reports that Texas is working through a “backlog” of Medicaid fraud cases, the top 20 of which could bring another $700 million to the State (and presumably a significant amount to whistleblowers).
Whistleblower cases have been so effective that the legislators asked what more could be accomplished with more resources provided to pursue these fraud cases. The Texas Attorney General’s Office seems to have done a commendable job with the resources it now has, but Attorney General Greg Abbott (my law school classmate at Vanderbilt Law School) agrees that more resources would produce even greater recoveries.
Patrick O’Connell, chief of the Civil Medicaid Fraud Section in Texas, has been impressive. He has led the team that since 1999 reportedly has recovered $72 million for Texas, and assisted in recovering $139 million more for the federal and other state governments.
And we keep wondering why every state has not enacted its own whistleblower False Claims Act—especially since Congress has offered huge financial rewards to states that have qui tam whistleblower statutes that are at least as effective as the federal False Claims Act.