To date, the District of Columbia and two other states have adopted some form of a false claims act. Although two municipalities – Philadelphia and Allegheny County – have adopted legislation which prohibits city or county contractors from submitting false claims for reimbursement – the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has yet to adopt a law which applies to individuals and/or companies who submit fraudulent requests for payment to the state. However, it appears that two state legislators – Representatives Anthony DeLuca of Allegheny County and Brandon Neuman of Washington County – are planning to introduce a bill which would provide the state with a means of recovering losses due to Medicaid fraud. Representatives DeLuca and Neuman noted that between 1986 and 2011, the federal government recovered over $31 billion as a result of suits brought under the federal False Claims Act and that a federal statute which was adopted in 2007 allows states to recover an additional 10% of the monies obtained in a federal false claims act suit alleging Medicaid fraud if the state has its own false claims act and the state law meets certain federal guidelines. According to Mr. DeLuca and Mr. Neuman, even if Pennsylvania doesn’t pass a law that meets federal requirements, the Commonwealth would still have a way to go after health care providers who submit false claims to the state.
The fact that two representatives support creation of a mechanism which would allow the state to prosecute fraudsters doesn’t mean that passage of such a statute is a certainty. Attempts have been made since 1999 to have Pennsylvania adopt a false claims act. The last try was in 2011 but the bill never made it out of the House Judiciary Committee. Only time will tell whether the current effort has greater success.
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