July 9, 2007 -- Attorney Mary Louise Cohen, a partner at Phillips & Cohen LLP in Washington, DC, suggests potential whistleblowers to do a little digging before deciding whether to file a qui tam lawsuit if they suspect their healthcare provider might be engaging in Medicare fraud.
Ms. Cohen's comments about whistleblowers and qui tam cases are featured in "Blowing the whistle on Medicare fraud," an article published in the spring issue of Blue MedicareRx-News published by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois.
"Ms. Cohen's firm is known as one of the nation's most successful in winning so-called 'qui tam' lawsuits under the False Claims Act," says the article. Qui tam cases brought by the firm and its attorneys have returned more than $2 billion to the U.S. Treasury.
Attorney Cohen told the publication if a patient notices a doctor billed Medicare for a more expensive procedure than was actually provided, the patient "may want to do a little digging" before assuming the doctor is committing Medicare fraud. "Can you find anyone else who's had a similar experience with this particular doctor?" she suggested.
The False Claims Act doesn't apply to cases of human errors or simple mistakes, she said.
For a lengthier discussion of points a potential whistleblower may want to consider before filing a qui tam lawsuit, see Pitfalls to avoid when filing a qui tam lawsuit.