Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has introduced a bill that will make changes to the False Claims Act (FCA) in response to court decisions that limited the rights of whistleblowers. The main features of S. 2964 (introduced January 28, 2010) would add administrative procedures designed to make it more difficult for crooks to set up phony medical providers to submit false bills to Medicare and Medicaid. However, in a third branch of the bill, Sen. Grassley proposes to fix a writing error introduced last year to the anti-retaliation provision. Sen. Grassley also proposes a nationwide two-year statute of limitations for retaliation claims. The national statute of limitations would address the Supreme Court’s holding in Graham County Soil & Water Conservation Dist. v. United States ex rel. Wilson, 545 U.S. 409 (2005). The Supreme Court said that the FCA’s six-year statute of limitations did not apply to the FCA’s whistleblower protection claims. Whistleblowers would have to respect the statute of limitations in their home state instead. (Karen Wilson’s retaliation claim was then dismissed because she missed North Carolina’s three-year statute of limitations.) Sen. Grassley also proposes to expand the definition of "original source" so that a whistleblower can still receive rewards if he or she has, "knowledge that is independent of and materially adds to the publicly disclosed allegations or transactions, and has voluntarily provided the information to the Government before filing an action . . .." The Senate has referred S. 2964 to its Finance Committee.
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