Today the whistleblower law firm Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page regarding the protections afforded to Coronavirus Whistleblowers when reporting fraud and misconduct on public health and safety violations. The firm issued the FAQs in response to the overwhelming need for employees who report health and safety violations related to the Coronavirus crisis to understand what laws protect their right to blow the whistle.
The FAQs explain how whistleblowers can use the highly effective False Claims Act to root out fraud related to the federal funding earmarked to fight the Coronavirus. The False Claims Act covers all programs funded by Medicaid and Medicare. The FAQs also include information on the right of employees to report threats to the public health and safety under other federal and state laws, including laws that permit employees to lawfully report threats to the public health to Congress, Inspectors General, or other “appropriate authorities.”
The whistleblower attorneys at Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto have experience representing employees who successfully sued corrupt contractors under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act for violating laws protecting public health safety. As an effort to prevent fraud from compromising the fight against the Coronavirus, its partners drafted the FAQs as a pro bono service to educate healthcare workers, employees of government contractors, and state and federal employees as to their rights.
“In light of the U.S. Government spending billions to fight the Coronavirus, it is imperative to hold fraudsters who seek to profit from the Coronavirus crisis accountable,” said Stephen M. Kohn, a founding partner of the firm, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Whistleblower Center.
“The Department of Justice must ensure that the False Claims Act and other whistleblower laws are vigorously enforced whenever credible evidence of fraud in public health programs is reported by whistleblowers. The Justice Department must prioritize protecting all federal programs designed to combat the Coronavirus,” Kohn added.
The FAQs cover critical federal and state whistleblower and anti-retaliation laws.
The FAQs include laws and statutes related to:
Fraud in government contracts
Fraud in Medicaid and Medicare programs
Federal and state laws that protect healthcare workers
Protections for Federal Employees
Protections under the First Amendment
Protections for private sector employees
“One would hope that there would be no need for whistleblower protections during a national emergency. But history teaches the opposite. Fraudsters often prey on the weak and take advantage of a crisis,” said Kohn.