The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Also known as: PPACA; Obamacare

Barack Obama

Signed into law by Barack Obama
March 23, 2010

To further the goal of rooting out fraud, waste and abuse in health care, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 (“Act”) that President Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010, includes several whistleblower provisions, including a new private right of action for retaliation (Section 1558), reporting requirements designed to prevent abuse of patients in elder care facilities (Section 6703(b)(3)), mandatory implementation of a complaint resolution process for residents and persons acting on behalf of residents at skilled nursing facilities (Section 6105), and a new definition of an “original source” under the False Claims Act that is favorable to qui tam relators (Section 10104(j)(2)).

Enforcement & Remedies

Claims of retaliation under Section 1558 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are enforced by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A complainant must file his complaint with OSHA within 180 days of the retaliatory action. OSHA will investigate the claim and may order preliminary relief such as job reinstatement.
Either party can appeal the OSHA outcome by requesting a hearing before a DOL Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Either party can appeal an ALJ’s decision to the DOL’s Administrative Review Board (ARB). An ARB decision can be appealed to federal court.
A prevailing employee is entitled to “make whole” relief. Remedies may include: (1) reinstatement; (2) back pay; (3) compensatory damages; and (4) attorney fees and litigation costs, including expert witness fees.