Amended False Claims Act Offers Anti-Retaliation Protection to Healthcare Compliance Employees
This broader protection was the focus of a recent Ohio district court case, which dissected the differences between the pre- and post-2009 FCA anti-retaliation provisions. In that case, the plaintiff was a former corporate compliance vice president, who brought an FCA anti-retaliation action against her former employer, Holzer Health Systems.
According to the plaintiff, she was fired soon after commencing an investigation into allegations that employees were disproportionately using the services of an ambulance company, Life Ambulance, in exchange for gifts and luncheons paid for by Life Ambulance.
The defendant cited a Sixth Circuit decision, Yuhasz v. Brush Wellman, Inc., which concluded that performing ordinary and expected employment duties of informing an employer that certifications were illegal and might incur liability under the FCA failed to provide the employer with notice of protected activity. The court rejected the defendant’s argument, noting that Yuhasz pre-dated the 2009 FCA amendments.
Under the amended FCA, anti-retaliation protection now properly extends to healthcare compliance employees who are fired for simply trying to stop FCA violations.