Network Firm News
CHRISTINE ZACK OFFERS GUIDANCE TO IN-HOUSE COUNSEL REGARDING WHISTLEBLOWER ACTIONS (At Network Litigation Management SuperCourse Panel Discussion Moderated by Linda Woolf)
Globe Newswire -- December 19, 2016
Christine Zack, Esq., Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer at Mariner Health Central, Inc. and Senior Vice President, Chief Risk Officer of Fundamental Administrative Services, LLC was a featured panelist in a discussion moderated by Linda Woolf, a partner at Goodell DeVries Leech & Dann, LLP. The panel presentation was hosted by The Network of Trial Law Firms, Inc. and tackled the subject of what in-house counsel need to know about whistleblowers.
In 2015, more than 700 cases were commenced under the False Claims Act. More than 600 of them were whistleblower cases where plaintiffs can win a share of the recovery. How can a company protect itself from exposure when the incentive to report is so great? With an extensive background in the healthcare industry, Ms. Zack participated in a panel of in-house counsel discussing whistleblowers and what in-house counsel can do to protect their clients.
The panel moderator, Ms. Woolf, utilized an interactive approach with conference participants and the panelists in discussing how whistleblowers, both real and purported, have become a part of everyday business life. Ms. Woolf noted that “In fiscal year 2015, the Department of Justice obtained more than $3.5 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the government. The three industries that made up the largest recoveries in fiscal year 2015 were in health care, government contracts, and banking and financial services. Of the almost $3.6 billion, $1.9 billion was from the health care industry involving unnecessary or inadequate care, kickbacks to health care providers, or overcharging for goods and services paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health care programs.”
With a focus on healthcare, Ms. Zack made recommendations on conducting internal investigations, working with current employees to appropriately prepare them for potential litigation and on protecting confidential information. “The number of whistle-blower claims in healthcare and the related payouts have been growing in recent years. In-house counsel must be champions for a company-wide culture of compliance to protect their respective organizations from both genuine and opportunistic whistleblower claims.” said Ms. Zack.