The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148) includes a provision that clarifies the False Claims Act's definition of "public disclosure."
In section 10104 of the new law is the following provision:
"Section 3730(e) of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking paragraph (4) and inserting the following:
'(4) (A) The court shall dismiss an action or claim under this section, unless opposed by the Government, if substantially the same allegations or transactions as alleged in the action or claim were publicly disclosed—
'(i) in a Federal criminal, civil, or administrative hearing in which the Government or its agent is a party;
'(ii) in a congressional, Government Accountability Office, or other Federal report, hearing, audit, or investigation; or
'(iii) from the news media,
unless the action is brought by the Attorney General or the person bringing the action is an original source of the information.
'(B) For purposes of this paragraph, “original source” means an individual who either (i) prior to a public disclosure under subsection (e)(4)(a), has voluntarily disclosed to the Government the information on which allegations or transactions in a claim are based, or (2) who has knowledge that is independent of and materially adds to the publicly disclosed allegations or transactions, and who has voluntarily provided the information to the Government before filing an action under this section.'"