In recent years, physicians have increasingly stepped into the role of successful whistleblower. In the complex world of medicine, this promising trend has deterred some healthcare practitioners from engaging in Medicare fraud. From a purely fiscal perspective, this deterrence has ensured that Medicare dollars have been spent appropriately. More importantly, though, the courageous actions of physician whistleblowers have likely saved patient lives.
Indeed, patient harm concerns have been front and center in many recent False Claims Act recoveries. Whether it is a case of medically unnecessary cardiac procedures or inappropriate inpatient hospital stays, these case have involved allegations of patients being needlessly exposed to heightened risks.
However, too often, nobody blows the whistle on blatantly inappropriate medical care. For some potential whistleblowers, there is a blind deference to the physician’s medical judgment, even when there are clear sides that the provider’s greed, not the patient’s need, is driving the decision-making process. For other would-be-whistleblowers, concerns for job security understandably silence alarm bells.
Into this void, many physician whistleblowers have stepped forward, recognizing that they have the financial stability and fiduciary duty to expose wayward colleagues. For the sake of the patients, more physicians should take this courageous stand under the protection of the False Claims Act whistleblower protections.
More information for whistleblowers is available at the Nolan Auerbach & White website.