Officials in six states—Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Oklahoma—have received written notice from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) that their state false claims statutes fail to fulfill requirements of the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. The failure could cost the states money, as it makes the states ineligible for a ten-percent increase in their share of Medicaid false claim recoveries. To become eligible for the ten-percent increase, state false claims act statutes must be at least as stringent as the federal False Claims Act. Under the federal Act’s qui tam provision, a private citizen, or relator, may institute a whistleblower claim for fraud on the government’s behalf and share in any money received. The six state statutes that didn’t measure up were not as effective in rewarding qui tam actions as the federal act. In New Hampshire, for example, the state false claims act does not permit a relator to maintain a qui tam action when the state elects not to proceed. The federal Act allows a relator to move forward, and receive a percentage of any award, even if the federal government chooses not to join the suit. To date, OIG has approved false claims acts in twelve states: California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
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