The bill known as the “21st Century Cures,” H.R.6, would extend Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) to cover false claims and false statements relating to grants, contracts, and other agreements funded by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). Falsehoods relating to clinical trials appear to be a particular target of the bill. The current version of CMP law covers Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE claims, but it doesn’t cover HHS grants and other contracts.
The bill would generally provide for fines of up to $10,000 for each false claim related to an HHS grant or contract, but the fines could be as high as $50,000 for a knowingly false statement on a grant or contract application.
Commentators disagree on the utility of the proposal. Some feel that the bill would have little deterrent effect because it outlaws behavior that is already illegal under the False Claims Act. Others feel that the special focus on grants and contracts will result in better compliance in those areas.