The Tennessee False Claims Act (“Tennessee FCA”) mirrors the federal False Claims Act (“FCA”), but it involves claims made to state and local governments in Tennessee, as opposed to the federal government. The Tennessee Medicaid False Claims Act (“Tennessee Medicaid FCA”) applies to any false claims made to Tennessee’s state Medicaid program. The Tennessee Medicaid FCA was enacted in 1993, eight years before the broader Tennessee FCA was enacted in 2001.
The Tennessee False Claims Act
Like the federal False Claims Act, the Tennessee FCA imposes civil liability of three times the amount of the fraud, plus statutory penalties, for anyone, including a corporation, who knowingly:
- Presents, or causes to be presented, a false claim for payment or approval;
- Makes or uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement in order to get a false claim paid or approved;
- Conspires to make false claims;
- Benefits from the inadvertent submission of a false claim and fails to disclose that to the state or local government.
See TN Code § 4-18-103(a). However, like the federal FCA, the Tennessee FCA does not apply to false claims related to any taxes administered by the state. See TN Code § 4-18-103(f).
A whistleblower who brings forward information that is used for a case under the Tennessee FCA can recover between 25 and 33% of settlement or judgment in the case if the government of Tennessee intervenes in the case. This range of awards for whistleblowers is higher than the federal FCA’s, which is between 15-25% in intervened cases.
If the Tennessee government does not intervene, the whistleblower can recover between 35% and 50% of the proceeds from the case, which again is higher than the federal FCA’s range for non-intervened cases of 25-30%. Compare TN Code § 4-18-104(g) to 31 U.S.C. § 3730(d).
The Tennessee FCA offers protections from retaliations for employees who brings forward information, or assists in the investigation of, a case under the Tennessee FCA. See TN Code § 4-18-105.
The Tennessee Medicaid False Claims Act
The Tennessee Medicaid FCA also imposes civil liability on anyone, including a corporation, who makes or uses, or causes to be made or used, a false claim for payment under the state’s Medicaid program. As with the Tennessee FCA, the penalties under the Tennessee Medicaid FCA are three times the amount of the fraud plus statutory penalties. See TN Code § 71-5-182(a).
Unlike the Tennessee FCA the Tennessee Medicaid FCA follows the federal FCA in terms of whistleblowers’ awards: 15-25% of the proceeds from the case in an intervened action, and 25-30% in a non-intervened action. See TN Code § 71-5-183(d). The Tennessee Medicaid FCA, like the Tennessee FCA, contains a provision to protect employees from retaliation for bringing a claim or participating in an investigation under the Tennessee Medicaid FCA. See TN Code § 71-5-183(g).
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