On Friday, a Columbus Dispatch editorial endorsed the creation of Ohio’s own False Claims Act by state lawmakers. The issue gained attention after the recent federal settlement by CareSource, a Dayton-based managed health care organization. CareSource paid $26 million to settle a case brought by two whistleblowers under the federal False Claims Act. Of the total settlement amount, Ohio will receive $10 million. But the Columbus Dispatch editorial points out that Ohio would have received an additional 10 percent if an Ohio False Claims Act had been in place. The editorial also notes that at least 27 other states have similar acts encouraging whistleblowers to report waste and fraud to state governments. The Columbus Dispatch emphasized that reporting fraud and waste in government programs as well as extra cash for the state are both incentives to pass an Ohio False Claims Act.
The Columbus Dispatch editorial comes after Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told reporters that he wants Ohio to create its own False Claims Act. Both the Attorney General and the newspaper have argued that Ohio should be entitled to collect a larger share of settlements from any whistleblower lawsuits against fraud. The push for an Ohio False Claims Act is likely to continue in the coming months as Ohio looks for ways to increase revenue faced with a budget deficit. But as a result, health care organizations will risk stiff penalties from both the federal False Claims Act and the Ohio False Claims Act if Ohio lawmakers act.
A copy of the Columbus Dispatch editorial can be found HERE.