False Claims Act
On February 8, 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 into law. The Deficit Reduction Act contains many provisions reforming Medicare and Medicaid that are designed to reduce program spending. As an entity that offers Medicaid and Medicare coverage, CareSource® is required to comply with certain provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act. One such provision requires us to provide you with information about the Federal False Claims Act, state False Claims Acts and other state laws regarding Medicare and Medicaid Fraud. In addition, the law requires you and your contractors and agents to adopt our policy on fraud, waste and abuse when handling CareSource business.
The Federal False Claims Act
Using the False Claims Act (the Act), you can help reduce fraud against the federal government. The Act allows everyday people to bring “whistleblower” lawsuits on behalf of the government, known as “qui tam” suits, against groups or other individuals that are defrauding the government through programs, agencies or contracts.
The False Claims Act applies when a company or person:
- Knowingly presents a false or fraudulent claim for payment,
- Knowingly uses a false record or statement to get a claim paid,
- Conspires with others to get a false or fraudulent claim paid, or
- Knowingly uses a false record or statement to conceal, avoid or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit money or property.
“Knowingly” means acting with actual knowledge or with reckless disregard or deliberate indifference to the truth or falsity of information.
An example would be if a health care provider, such as a hospital or a physician, knowingly “upcodes” or overbills; resulting in overpayment of the claim using Medicaid or Medicare dollars.
The time period for a claim to be brought under the False Claims Act is the later of:
- Within six years from the date of the illegal conduct, or
- Within three years after the date the government knows or should have known about the illegal conduct, but in no event later than ten years after the illegal activity.
Georgia State Law
Georgia has enacted a false claims statute that meets the requirements of Section 1909 of the Social Security Act. Section 1909 provides a financial incentive for a State to enact a false claims statute that is at least as effective in rewarding and facilitating qui tam actions for false claims as those described in the federal False Claims Act.
Georgia’s Taxpayer Protection Against False Claims statute applies to any individual or entity that:
- Knowingly presents or causes to be presented a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;
- Knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim;
- Conspires to commit a violation of any other section of the statute;
- Has possession, custody, or control of property or money used, or to be used, by the state or local government and knowingly delivers, or causes to be delivered, less than all of that money or property;
- Being authorized to make or deliver a document certifying receipt of property used, or to be used, by the state or local government and, intending to defraud the state or local government, makes or delivers the receipt without completely knowing that the information on the receipt is true;
- Knowingly buys, or receives as a pledge of an obligation or debt, public property from an officer or employee of the state or local government who lawfully may not sell or pledge the property; or
- Knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used a false record or statement material to an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the state or local government, or knowingly conceals, knowingly and improperly avoids, or decreases an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the state or a local government
Georgia’s Taxpayer Protection Against False Claims statute may be found at Georgia Code 23-3-120, et seq.
It is the policy of CareSource to detect and prevent any activity that may violate the federal False Claims Act or the state Medicaid fraud laws cited in this policy. If any employee, provider, delegated entity, subcontractor or agent has knowledge or information that any such activity may have taken place, he or she should contact the Special Investigations Unit. Information may be reported anonymously.
In addition, federal and state law and CareSource policy prohibits any retaliation or retribution against persons who report suspected violations of these laws to law enforcement officials or who file “whistleblower” lawsuits on behalf of the government. Anyone who believes that he or she has been subject to any such retribution or retaliation should also report this to the Special Investigations Unit.