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whistle blower 189 articles

Whistleblower receives $21 million for exposing health care fraud

A former senior financial analyst for a Florida-based health plan provider will receive nearly $21 million for his role in exposing his employer’s fraudulent business practices, which involved double billing Medicare and Medicaid. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Sean Hellein, who worked for WellCare Health Plans in Tampa, secretly recorded company executives in 2006 discussing ways to double bill the government health programs. As an administer of managed-care plans for 2.6 million Medicare and Medicaid patients, WellCare is required to refund a percentage of unspent funds. Mr. Hellein’s information led to an FBI raid on WellCare’s Tampa headquarters in ... Read More

Injured Pfizer worker blows whistle on unpoliced biotech hazards

Becky McClain was a molecular biologist working for Pfizer Inc. when she was allegedly injured on the job after being exposed to a highly secretive virus in the company’s Groton, Connecticut, laboratories. McClain filed a number of complaints with Pfizer in an effort to address safety concerns that put both workers and the public at risk. But instead of fixing the problem, Pfizer turned its back on Ms. McClain’s complaints and fired her. Today, two years after winning a $1.27 million judgment against Pfizer and an additional $910,000 for attorney’s fees and punitive damages awarded by a judge last year, ... Read More

Florida school fired whistleblower who voiced safety concerns, OSHA says

PALMETTO, FL–The Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto, Florida, is being sued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for firing an employee who blew the whistle on alleged safety hazards at the school. According to OSHA, the employee submitted a letter to his supervisor on June 20, 2009, warning of improperly placed extension cords and the lack of sprinkler systems in the Manatee School’s two theaters. School authorities never responded to the letter or the concerns it expressed. The employee then filed a complaint with OSHA on July 14, and on July 30 regulators from OSHA’s ... Read More

Whistleblower sues Takeda for downplaying Actos heart risks

A U.S. unit of Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. downplayed the seriousness of hundreds of cases of congestive heart failure linked to its diabetes drug Actos to federal regulators, a Takeda employee alleges in a whistle-blower lawsuit she brought against the company. All pharmaceutical companies are required by law to report adverse drug reactions to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS). This information updates the drug database and keeps regulators apprised of safety concerns that could influence how the drug is marketed. Helen Ge, a medical reviewer for the Actos manufacturer, alleges that from 2007 to ... Read More

Whistleblowers key in the fight against fraud

Whistleblowers have become one of the federal government’s most valuable tools in its ongoing efforts to crack down on corporate wrongdoing and recover money lost to overbilling and other fraudulent activities. Healthcare is one industry that is particularly rampant with financial fraud, and it’s fallen at the center of recent bipartisan efforts in Washington to fight back. A congressional coalition beefed up the False Claims Act in 2009, making it easier for the government to use the law. Additionally, the Obama Administration has called for better fraud-busting health care laws and a bigger budget to use them effectively. Tony West, ... Read More

FDA monitored emails of staff who questioned medical device safety

A group of former and current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials have filed a lawsuit against the agency alleging the FDA secretly monitored their private email after they questioned the approval of certain medical devices which they felt put the public’s health and safety at risk. The group of nine doctors and scientists told members of Congress and the incoming Obama administration in 2008 that they were shocked to find medical devices they had researched had been approved by the FDA. In 2009, after Obama was elected but before he took office, the plaintiffs sent Obama’s transition team a ... Read More

Georgia bus manufacturer will compensate worker fired for expressing safety concerns

ATLANTA, GA — A former employee of Georgia-based school bus manufacturer Blue Bird Corp. will receive $176,000 in back wages and interest after being illegally terminated for refusing to work under unsafe conditions and reporting the safety concerns to labor officials. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a Blue Bird maintenance worker was ordered to use a bucket lift truck to hang Christmas wreaths for the company. Not familiar with the operation of the bucket truck, the worker requested training in the equipment’s operation. Instead of receiving the proper training, however, a dispute erupted with company management ... Read More

osha accused of mismanaging whistleblower protection program

The federal whistleblower protection program that is supposed to serve 200 million U.S. workers is languishing under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s authority and should be removed, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. The GAO report admonished OSHA leadership for its inattention to the whistleblower program and recommended that it be elevated to its own separate office. The GAO’s recommendation jibes with the calls of whistleblower support organizations, such as Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which has petitioned Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to turn the program into its own office within the Department of Labor. Entitled ... Read More

OSHA establishes new website to support whistleblowers

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration unveiled a new website this week dedicated to providing would-be whistleblowers with encouragement and protection. According to OSHA, “workers who ‘blow the whistle’ on prohibited or unlawful practices in the workplace or report safety and health discrimination play an important role” in keeping employers in line with federal laws. The website – www.whistleblower.gov – is designed to provide workers, employers, and the public with easily accessible information about the 18 federal whistleblower protection statutes that OSHA currently administers. While the information is available on OSHA’s main website, the agency wanted to make it ... Read More