On January 22, 2018, Senate Bill 321, sponsored by Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia), was heard in Georgia’s Senate Committee on Judiciary. This bill seeks to increase the amount of civil monetary penalties for false or fraudulent Medicaid claims under Georgia’s Medicaid fraud statute, O.C.G.A. § 49-4-168.1. The Committee passed the bill out unanimously, and the bill is now being considered by the Rules Committee.
Under Georgia’s Medicaid False Claims Act statute, an individual will be liable for knowingly presenting or causing the presentation of a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval to the Georgia Medicaid program, or knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim. See O.C.G.A. § 49-4-168. Under the proposed bill, the civil penalty would increase from the current fine of not less than $5,500 per claim, to not less than $11,181.00 for each false or fraudulent claim, plus three times the amount of damages which the Georgia Medicaid program sustains because of the act of such person. This proposed increase seeks to match the recent increase in civil monetary penalties at the federal level. See 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a).
At present, the bill has encountered little scrutiny and is likely to pass with ease. However, AGG will continue to monitor the situation and provided updates throughout the legislative session.