New Bills Pushes for More Whistleblower Protections
A new bill, S. 585, spearheaded by U.S. Representative Rod Blum will place more federal protections against the brave individuals who choose to expose illegal or unethical practices. It is an important step to ensure that the courageous people who speak out against fraud do not receive any persecution for their bravery.
About the Bill S. 585
S. 585’s full name is the Dr. Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017. Chris Kirkpatrick of Wisconsin was a Veteran Affair’s psychologist who committed suicide after being terminated from his job. He raised concerns when he noticed VA patients were being overmedicated.
“We look at this opioid epidemic and some of these types of epidemics that are coming from prescription drugs, it’s a big issue these days, so he blew the whistle on it, said they’re being overprescribed, and he was fired,” Representative Rod Blum said.
A VA investigation found Dr. Kirkpatrick’s concerns had been warranted. Tomah veterans were 2.5 times more likely to get high doses of opiates than the national average. Further investigations found retaliation against whistleblowers has become a major problem at VA facilities across the country. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating 110 retaliation claims from whistleblowers in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
The bill will enhance protections and speed up investigations when companies fire a federal employee for whistleblowing. The enacted Office of Special Counsel will ensure retaliation against whistleblowers will be held accountable. Additionally, all federal employees will be informed of their rights as whistleblowers. Managers will receive training on the protections they will have through the new bill.
Further, the bill requires the Government Accountability Office to provide two reports to discuss retaliation against employees on probationary status.
A VA investigation, triggered earlier this year by the revelation that a veteran died at Tomah last August from “mixed drug toxicity”, found Kirkpatrick’s concerns had been warranted. Tomah veterans were 2½ times more likely to get high doses of opiates than the national average. Further investigations found retaliation against whistleblowers has become a major problem at VA facilities across the country. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating 110 retaliation claims from whistleblowers in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
On October 12, S. 585 was passed by both chambers and will now go on to the President who will either sign or veto the bill.
Premier Complex Litigation Attorneys
Most whistleblowers come forward to do what is right. They have noticed a fraud or something morally wrong, and they want to report it. The government rewards their bravery and honesty by giving whistleblowers up to 30% of the recovered assets. This has yielded large whistleblower settlements.
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Most of all, our law office is resourceful and dedicated to pursuing any compensation you are due. Because of this, we have received a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement, such as inclusion on numerous Plaintiff Steering Committees. We will take whatever legal measures are necessary when fighting for your rights to damages.
Therefore, if you believe you have uncovered evidence of fraud involving a government-funded program, contact us today. Our whistleblower attorneys have represented many clients in the past. We will work tirelessly to obtain results on your behalf.