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Washington state now has a Medicaid false claims act

Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire has signed a Medicaid fraud false claims act.

The act includes a qui tam provision, which will allow private citizens who discover fraud involving the state’s heath care services to bring suit on behalf of the government. The bill notes that states with false claims acts recovered over five billion dollars between 1996 and 2009, primarily from suits relating to billing fraud, off-label marketing and withholding safety information.

The governor’s signing statement recognizes that the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 provides that the federal government will give states ten percent of any funds recovered as part of Medicaid enforcement actions brought under a state law comparable to the federal False Claims Act. The state laws are reviewed the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services Office of the Inspector General to determine if they qualify for the increase.

The Washington State Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act will enter into effect on June 7, 2012.

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