Physician Whistleblower Protections: What You Need to Know

May 11th, 2023

As a physician, your primary concern is the health and safety of your patients. Sometimes, this means speaking out when you witness violations of healthcare laws or unethical practices. Unfortunately, the act of reporting such violations can sometimes put your job and career in jeopardy. Fortunately, federal and state laws provide protections for physicians who blow the whistle on illegal or unethical conduct.

The False Claims Act (FCA) is a federal law that allows individuals to sue on behalf of the government when there is evidence of fraud against federal programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid. The FCA provides incentives for whistleblowers, including physicians, to come forward by offering a portion of the recovered funds as a reward. Additionally, the FCA prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report violations.

In addition to the FCA, there are several state laws that protect physician whistleblowers. For example, Minnesota has a Whistleblower Act that provides protection for employees who report illegal or unethical conduct. This includes physicians who report healthcare fraud, patient safety violations, or other forms of wrongdoing.

It’s important to understand your rights as a physician whistleblower. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

    1. You have the right to report violations: If you witness illegal or unethical conduct, you have the right to report it without fear of retaliation.
    2. You have recourse if you experience retaliation: Federal and state laws prohibit retaliation against whistleblowers and provide legal remedies if you are terminated, demoted, or experience any other forms of discrimination.
    3. You may be entitled to a reward: The FCA provides financial incentives for whistleblowers who report fraud against the government.
    4. You should document everything: Keep detailed records of any violations you witness, including when and how you reported them, and any actions taken in response.
    5. You may need legal representation: If you experience retaliation for blowing the whistle, you may need the help of an experienced employment attorney to protect your rights.

Reporting violations is not only your right as a physician, it’s also your responsibility to protect the health and safety of your patients. By understanding your rights as a whistleblower, you can help ensure that illegal or unethical conduct is brought to light and stopped. If you need assistance in reporting violations or protecting your rights as a whistleblower, Halunen Law attorneys are highly experienced in whistleblower laws and can guide you through the process. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your concerns.

Brent P. Benrud

As chair of the Firm’s Employment Practice Group, Brent Benrud is a leader with decades of litigation experience and a depth of knowledge that he brings to his practice and the work of the employment attorneys in his practice group.

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