What should you do if you find out that your employer is committing Medicaid fraud? As an employee, you have a difficult decision in front of you. Do you report it and risk retaliation? Or do you keep quiet to preserve your job? Michigan has a very specific law on the books to help you answer these questions.
What is the Michigan Medicaid False Claims Act?
The Michigan Medicaid False Claims Act is a law designed to identify, investigate and prosecute entities that engage in Medicaid fraud. Medicaid fraud costs the state, and by extension the taxpayers, a lot of money every year. However, Medicaid fraud is not always easy to spot – sometimes it requires someone on the inside of a company to know that something fraudulent is going on. This is where the employee comes in.
The Act allows qui tam actions
A qui tam action is where a government grants private citizens the right to sue on the government’s behalf. When it comes to Medicaid fraud, Michigan lets employees bring a lawsuit against their employer when they identify fraudulent activity. Michigan will then investigate the activity itself and may either join the employee in the lawsuit or allow them to pursue it on their own.
What’s the incentive for the employee?
Since fraud is hard to identify, Michigan wants to encourage employee whistleblowers. It does so with financial incentives. Whenever a qui tam action is successful, the employee is entitled to recoup all of their costs related to the lawsuit. But they are also entitled to receive 15% to 30% of any damages levied against the employer for their wrongdoing. Additionally, the Act provides protection for the employee against retaliation, making it illegal for the employer to fire, demote or otherwise take action against the employee for bringing the lawsuit in the first place.