Tennessee needs to toughen up its Medicaid false claims law, the federal government says, which may mean more scrutiny for healthcare providers.

There are not enough protections for whistleblowers under Tennessee law, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Daniel Levinson, said in a recent letter to the state’s Attorney General. The state has until the end of August 2013 to correct its law so that there is as much protection for whistleblowers as they would have under the federal False Claims Act. 

The OIG told 17 states in 2011 that their Medicaid false claims laws were not as tough as federal law. Tennessee was seeking clarification as to whether its recently amended bill would meet the standard and receive a 10% recovery incentive.

States have to return the federal amount of money collected through false Medicaid claims. Nursing homes have come under increased claims scrutiny, especially related to rehabilitation reimbursements. 

Click here to read the letter.