One of the first indicators that may tip off a healthcare provider or government contractor that their organization may be the subject of a False Claims Act (FCA) investigation is contact with a government investigator. That contact may take many forms – service of a subpoena or Civil Investigative Demand (CID), an interview of an employee, or simply a phone call by a government regulator or investigator. How an organization responds to those earliest contacts often sets the tone for how the government investigation unfolds.
Organizations with well-developed policies and procedures addressing how the organization will respond to contacts by government regulators often have a more orderly process to guide the organization in responding to government investigations (referred to herein as a Government Response Policy). A Government Response Policy can set a clear tone of cooperation by the organization with any appropriately authorized government inquiry, while at the same time making clear that the organization will assert all protections afforded by law in any such investigation or inquiry. And, a well-crafted Government Response Policy also can make clear to employees that concealment, alteration or destruction of information or the making of false or misleading statements to regulators will not be tolerated.
An effective Government Response Policy depends upon educating employees regarding the types of contacts that an organization or an employee may receive from government regulators and on establishing clear points of contact and lines of communication within the organization. Typically, the organization will establish its legal department as a central point of contact for government inquiries or investigations (and organizations without a legal department would have to think through an alternative appropriate point of contact) as the entity within the organization best suited to coordinate the organization’s response either directly or through outside counsel. Below we provide broad principles and guidelines that should be considered in preparing an organization’s Government Response Policy.
This post contains five parts and looks at the following:
- Responding to a subpoena or CID.
- Responding to visits by investigators at an office/facility.
- Responding to a search warrant.
- Responding to an interview request.
- Responding to inbound calls from government officials.