What if you saw something illegal taking place? What if you saw someone being hurt, but no one else was around to see it? Would you do something about it? Would you allow it to continue happening? I think most of us would feel obligated to blow the whistle on wrongdoing, especially if it was harming other people.
Medicare fraud does indeed harm people. Since Medicare is funded through tax dollars, every tax-paying citizen is ultimately robbed when a physician or health care provider attempts to defraud the system and charge for services or products that you never received. If you know that such activity is taking place, you are obligated to tell someone. That is called being a whistleblower.
Why is Whistleblower Protections Needed
One of the biggest hindrances to whistleblowers is the fear of personal or corporate retaliation. For those who work in government offices and private companies, protections needed to be implemented to protect them from such intimidation. Concerned employees needed to be assured that if abuse and fraud were reported, their persons and livelihood would be protected.
A good example of such a program is the Whistleblower Protection Act, which protects government employees who feel the need to report agency misconduct, abuses of power and so on. Both private and Federal whistleblowing laws provide protections and legal recourse for those involved in reporting illegal activity.
In the workplace, OSHA has provided specific rights to employees who report illegal activity at their place of employment. Among these rights are protections from:
- Adverse Employment Conditions (Firing or Laying Off)
- Benefits Denied
- Reduction in pay or hours
These protections also apply to those who work in the healthcare industry or the Medicare industry. Whether in the private or Government sector, employees have the obligation to report fraud and the rights to protection when they do so.
National Whistleblower Center
The NWC has been working since 1988 to protect the rights and privacy of Government and corporate employees. Many of those most likely to be aware of such cases of fraud, including Medicare fraud are the employees who work at the various firms.
Thanks to the NWC whistleblowers in all types of industries have won major victories and helped to keep the public safe by forcing out the truth of fraud and abuse in their companies, and helping to bring the offenders to justice.
A Growing Whistleblowing Protection Movement
The need for accountability and the overwhelming wave of corruption and fraud in recent years has produced an outcry in support of whistleblowing. Where those seeking to reveal the truth in years past had been subjected to intimidation, threats and pay-offs, today they are being given protection. Many countries are passing their own versions of whistleblower protection laws, and as a result, we are seeing more and more employees coming forward with their stories. We can only hope that this growing culture of transparency will aid in reducing waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and every other industry and Government office in existence.