An opinion piece published by today by The Hill, calls on Congress to enact a private sector whistleblower law to cover the disclosure of violations of patient safety or threats to public health. Whistleblower attorney, Stephen M. Kohn, a founding partner in the qui tam law firm of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP, says that healthcare workers lack federal whistleblower protections and must be protected. Kohn states that the rise in public health and safety issues in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic demonstrate the critical need to close this “loophole” in coronavirus whistleblower protections.

Kohn, who is also the Chairman of the whistleblower advocacy group, the National Whistleblower Center, says that Congress should enact a law that promotes reporting threats to the public health and patient safety. Five factors a strong whistleblower protection law should include, according to Kohn:

A whistleblower office within the Department of Health and Human Services;

The law should provide whistleblower reward, such as the those paid under the qui tam provisions of False Claims Act;

A procedure to incentivize the reporting of high-quality tips that law enforcement can use to prosecute violations successfully;

Strong protections for confidentiality and that allows anonymous reporting; and

A standard anti-retaliation provision.

Read the full article: Fix the gaping hole in whistleblower protections: Public health and patient safety.