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Advocating Whistleblower Rights for over Twenty Years

Category Archives: Healthcare

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Blood Medicine tells the story of Mark Duxbury’s suffering to expose big pharma’s abuse

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam, Healthcare, Honesty Without Fear Radio, Pharmaceuticals
Kathleen Sharp’s book about pharmaceutical whistleblower Mark Duxbury will be released in paperback on September 1, 2012. It is Blood Medicine: Blowing the Whistle on One of the Deadliest Prescription Drugs Ever. I had the pleasure of interviewing journalist Kathleen Sharp on November 15, 2011.  You can listen to the archive of that interview here. Mark Duxbury was a star… Continue Reading

New York Times editorial supports FDA whistleblowers

Posted in Government Whistleblowers, Healthcare
In today’s editorial, the New York Times expresses concerns about the targeted surveillance of whistleblowers at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The editorial recounts the claims made by six scientists and physicians who raised concerns about the safety and effectiveness of devices approved by higher FDA officials. FDA managers then began a campaign of targeted surveillance that included the… Continue Reading

MSPB Approves Stay for FDA Whistleblower

Posted in Healthcare
The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) recently allowed a stay in the termination of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) whistleblower, Paul T. Hardy. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) requested the stay on his behalf due to reasonable belief that Mr. Hardy’s recent termination from the FDA constituted a violation of the Whistleblowers Protection Act (WPA). According to the… Continue Reading

Special Counsel moves to protect two whistleblowers

Posted in Government Whistleblowers, Healthcare
Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner (pictured) announced today that she filed requests yesterday on behalf of two federal whistleblowers to protect them from adverse personnel actions. She filed the requests with the Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) in support of Paul T. Hardy, a Regulatory Review Officer for the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), and Franz Gayl, a high-level civilian science… Continue Reading

Dr. Duane Bonds files petition with Supreme Court to expand protections for federal employees

Posted in Government Whistleblowers, Healthcare, National Security
Dr. Duane Bonds has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court this week. Dr. Bonds was our nation’s top researcher on sickle cell disease until she blew the whistle on the unauthorized cloning of participants’ cells. In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that she had a right to a jury trial on her… Continue Reading

Sylvester wins at ARB in a victory for all whistleblowers

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, Department of Labor, Healthcare, Legislation, Pharmaceuticals
On May 25, 2011, the Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) issued a major decision in favor of whistleblowers. In Sylvester v. Parexel International, ARB Case No. 07-123 (ARB May 25, 2011), the ARB held that a whistleblower only needs a "reasonable belief" of a violation to engage in protected activity under the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). The ARB… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit protects social worker’s court testimony

Posted in Government Whistleblowers, Healthcare
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion holding that a social worker is protected from retaliation for his courtroom testimony about  a former client. The case is Clairmont v. Sound Mental Health and Wilson, No. 09-35856 (9th Cir. 2011). From 2005 to 2007, Sound Mental Health (SMH) of Seattle, Washington, employed Richard Clairmont… Continue Reading

ARB holds first oral argument in a SOX case

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, Department of Labor, Healthcare, Legislation, Pharmaceuticals
Today the Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) held its first oral argument in a case under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). Last November, the ARB gave notice of today’s oral argument, and invited interested groups to submit friend-of-the-court (or "amicus") briefs. The ARB asked the parties to address issues of how specific OSHA complaints have to be, whether Administrative… Continue Reading

NIH Whistleblower Wins Right to Federal Court Trial

Posted in Government Whistleblowers, Healthcare
On Monday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of a sickle cell disease researcher who blew the whistle on improper cloning of blood cell lines. The decision clears the way Dr. Duane Bonds (pictured) to proceed with her claim that the National Institutes of Health fired her in retaliation for blowing the whistle… Continue Reading

Obama Signs Landmark Whistleblower Protections in Food Safety Act

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, Department of Labor, Healthcare, Legislation, Pharmaceuticals, Whistleblower FAQ
Today, President Obama signed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (H.R. 2571), which contains landmark whistleblower protections for food safety employees. Highlights of the Food Safety Whistleblower Provision:   Covers all employers "engaged in the manufacture, processing, packing, transportation, distribution, reception, holding or importation of food;" Allows workers have their case heard before a jury in federal court; Provides for… Continue Reading

Food safety bill will create new whistleblower protection; our patchwork has one less hole

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, Department of Labor, Healthcare, Legislation, Whistleblower FAQ
Yesterday the U.S. Senate passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), S. 510. It passed with strong bipartisan support.  The final vote was 73 to 25. My friend Jason Zuckerman has written a detailed analysis of FSMA’s new whistleblower protection. Those who need the details about the scope and legal requirements for FSMA whistleblower claims should read Jason’s analysis.… Continue Reading

Supreme Court hears argument on employer liability in Staub v. Proctor Hospital

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, Healthcare
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Staub v. Proctor Hospital.  I don’t know why I could not find an article about it in this morning’s newspaper. U.S. Army Reserve First Sergeant Vincent Staub worked as an angiography technician for the Proctor Hospital in Peoria, Illinois, for 14 years. You can read in this prior blog post about… Continue Reading

Hospital workers strike Temple University and defeat “gag” rule

Posted in Healthcare
Nurses and other professional and technical employees of Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia won a month-long strike in which management tried to impose a "gag" rule to prohibit them from speaking publicly about how staff shortages affect patient care. Marty Harrison, a staff nurse and board member of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP), wrote about… Continue Reading

Defense firm warns federal contractors about FCA amendments in Healthcare Law

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam, Healthcare
The law firm of Gibson Dunn represents companies when they are accused of defrauding the government. They have now posted to their web page an article that warns federal contractors about the new liabilities they face as a result of the newly signed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the new Healthcare Law. My colleague, Lindsey Williams (Advocacy Director… Continue Reading

Scientists raise concerns about radiation risk of CT scans

Posted in Healthcare
Several media sources are reporting on concerns raised by scientists about the radiation dangers of CT scans. CT scans delivers the radiation exposure of about 400 chest x-rays. Their popularity for colon cancer screening and other diagnoses has increased the average American’s lifetime radiation exposure seven fold since 1980.  During that time, the number of CT scans performed in the… Continue Reading

RCG dialysis company pilfered $19.4 million

Posted in Healthcare
A federal judge in Tennessee has found that a dialysis company bilked the federal government out of $19.4 million. U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes Jr. issued the order against Renal Care Group, Renal Care Group Supply Co. and Fresenius Medical Care Holdings Inc. The order concluded that the companies ran a single operation and falsely claimed to be separate… Continue Reading

Florida nurses rally for improved staffing and whistleblower protections

Posted in Healthcare
Florida nurses rallied at their state capitol this week to call for minimum staffing ratios and whistleblower protection. The Miami Herald was there to report on the rally. The nurses cite research showing that improving nurse-to-patient ratios saves lives and costs less than alternative safety procedures that would cost more. The bill would also provide employee protection for nurses who… Continue Reading

Whistleblowing nurse Anne Mitchell acquitted in Texas

Posted in Healthcare
A jury in Andrews, Texas, has acquitted an experienced nurse of charges that she misused official information when she sent an anonymous letter to a state medical board to complain about a doctor’s malpractice.  Anne Mitchell had been a nurse at the Winkler County Memorial Hospital for 25 years. In April 2008, Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles Jr. arrived. At the… Continue Reading

A beautiful quote on employer pretexts

Posted in Healthcare
My friend Paul Taylor of the Truckers Justice Center shares this beautiful quote that I will be using in briefs for my clients: "Today’s employers, even those with only a scintilla of sophistication, will neither admit discriminatory or retaliatory intent, nor leave a well-developed trail demonstrating it. … It is a simple task for employers to concoct plausible reasons for… Continue Reading

False Claims Act Whistleblower Puts a Stop to Abuse at PA Psychiatric Hospital

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam, Healthcare
Yesterday, I blogged about a pending multi-million dollar False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit agains Pharm giant Wyeth. Today’s news brings another example of how the FCA can be used to bring gross misconduct to light. This case, involving a western Pennsylvania psychiatric institution has settled for far less money than many of the more highly publicized FCA cases, but the… Continue Reading

U.S. Government and 16 States Join False Claims Act Lawsuit Against Pharm Co. Wyeth

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals
The United States Government, along with the governments of 15 states and the District of Columbia, have joined with two whistleblowers who allege that drug manufacturer Wyeth bilked US taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars. As reported in the Wall Street Journal and the FierceHealthcare website, Wyeth is accused of overcharging Medicare and Medicaid programs nationwide for purchases of… Continue Reading

Whistleblowers Help DOJ Recover $1 Billion in Government Contractor Fraud Scams in FY 2008

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam, Healthcare, Legislation, News
Did you know that whistleblowers reporting under the False Claims Act have accounted for over $1 Billion in recovered federal and state taxpayer dollars this (fiscal) year alone?  This Marketwatch.com article details the biggest fraud recoveries in ’08, including hundreds of millions of dollars from companies such as Amerigroup, Merck, Bechtel, CVS, and Pratt & Whitney.  Despite these results, the False Claims Act… Continue Reading