– To ensure the Commonwealth’s taxpayers are protected from fraud, the House State Government Committee today amended and approved House Bill 2352
by Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover) to create the Pennsylvania False Claims Act.
“Every cent of taxpayers’ money is valuable, and this legislation provides another measure to protect it from fraud,” Grove said. “The federal version of the act, as well as other states to enact similar legislation, showcase why Pennsylvania needs this bill on the books.”
Grove’s legislation would adopt a state version of the Federal False Claims Act, which would allow the Commonwealth to, during national settlements, recoup an additional 10% from false claims made against Medicaid. Additionally, this legislation empowers the attorney general’s office, or a district attorney designated by the attorney general, to investigate other potential cases of false claims made against the Commonwealth.
The bill was amended in committee to include limited civil liability protections for entities that follow all state and federal directives regarding COVID-19. This liability protection was added to the bill along with civil fraud provisions which match federal law.
“Those who work hard and maintain compliance with all existing government directives and do the right thing shouldn’t be faced with prospects of a civil suit when they are often struggling to just keep their doors open,” Grove said.
A recent ruling in federal district court highlighted the need for Pennsylvania to have its own False Claims Act.
The U.S District Court awarded $117 million in damages to plaintiffs, which included several states, including Pennsylvania, as part of a global settlement regarding allegations of fraud against Universal Health Services (UHS). While Pennsylvania received just over $900,000, the Commonwealth did not have the ability to recover Pennsylvania state-specific taxpayer dollars lost to fraud.
“California and New York each have their own civil liability laws. Their prosecutors recovered $1 million and $1.8 million, respectively, for their taxpayers.” Grove said. “The numbers speak for themselves. After more than 20 years it is well past time for the Commonwealth to enact its own law to create civil fraud law and allow the state to recover taxpayer money lost to fraud.”
House Bill 2352 is part of a comprehensive six-bill package spearheaded by Grove. The bills are the result of long hours of tireless work to address wasteful spending and the fraudulent use of taxpayer dollars, which must never be tolerated, in Pennsylvania.
Representative Seth Grove
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross