What Are the Required Skills of a Medicare Qui Tam Attorney?
November 20th, 2018 by Mike Bothwell
Discover the top traits of an experienced Medicare qui tam attorney.
Selecting the right Medicare qui tam attorney is more important than ever before. Over the past ten years, the number of qui tam cases has increased. Nuisance cases have the potential to cost the government a fortune. Preventions are in place, but you have to be careful they don’t interfere with your ability to file a case.
In 2018, the director of the Commercial Civil Fraud Division of the Department of Justice released a memo encouraging government lawyers to do a more stringent job of evaluating cases. More than that, it encouraged prosecutors to file motions to dismiss cases in certain situations to avoid contradictions in law and government waste. Over the past year, they’ve ramped up the number of dismissed cases, but often for a good reason.
For example, the government recently filed to dismiss 11 cases across seven federal districts, all raised by the same firm. The motion specifically called the lawsuits “meritless” and pointed out the case encroaches on policies put into place by federally mandated health programs.
The lawsuits’ main complaint? Pre-authorizations for prescriptions and providing patients with the education needed to use medications correctly are incentives in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute.
It looks like the firm was using technicalities in the hopes of securing a payoff, and the government rightly put a stop to it. Is any part of their case valid? We’ll never know. It’s possible they’re working to stop a real problem that wasn’t clear in the filing. Working with the right lawyer ensures your case will stay active and get the support it deserves.
How do you know which lawyer is qualified? Keep an eye out for these traits and skills:
When researching lawyers, make sure you’re looking at real lawyers and not someone who is misrepresenting himself to get your contact information. Referral services can look convincing, and their platforms make it easy to get the details of your case.
You also have to keep a lookout for a different kind of fake. Whenever you’re raising a qui tam suit, you have to file your claim appropriately to have whistleblower protections — and rewards. Pass your information to the wrong person, and they can attempt to raise the claim first. They could also contact the intended defendants to help them get a leg up.
It helps to check with the state bar association in your lawyer’s area to ensure they’re a true professional.
Winning lawyers aren’t experts in every area, and Medicare qui tam suits have very specific guidelines to follow. While you might not be able to stay anonymous, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself if you come forward. For instance, your employer cannot do any of the following if you have filed a whistleblower case:
- Fire you
- Demote you
- Fail to advance you
- Harass or threaten you
In some instances, an experienced attorney can help you preserve your anonymity or take extra measures against retaliation.
Most importantly, when included in a qui tam lawsuit, you’re eligible to receive a portion of any settlement or lawsuit winnings. Successful whistleblowers have received millions of dollars. There’s a lot at stake, so you want to work with someone you know will get things right.
They’re Well Connected
With the crackdown on frivolous qui tam lawsuits, who you know might become more critical over time. While the DOJ acknowledges how important cases are in keeping corruption at bay, the number of cases filed has reached a tipping point where the potential costs involved in intervention might outweigh the benefits of catching certain crimes.
Government intervention helps improve your chances for success, so hire someone who has worked alongside government agencies in the past. Bring in a lawyer with a reputation for filing and winning valid cases. It can help convince an agency your lawsuit is worth the investment.
They’re Ready for a Fight
Filing Medicare qui tam lawsuits don’t typically require a considerable cash investment up front from the client. Instead, the lawyers take their fees from the case winnings. Others charge per hour or per motion. It’s essential you understand billing procedures before you sign on with a legal professional. Will your lawyer be able to invest the time and money into preparing your case?
With so many considerations to make when choosing a lawyer, it pays to do your research. Every minute spent on research goes toward a winning settlement. Learn more about finding the right Medicare qui tam attorney by contacting Bothwell Law Group online.