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NC lawmakers protect insurance whistleblowers

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- North Carolina lawmakers are acting to protect whistleblowers after a hospital sued a former employee who reported what the state auditor later determined were excessive taxpayer charges.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports the legislation passed this week next goes to Gov. Bev Perdue for her approval.

The push for action came from the lawsuit Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center filed against former hospital administrative director Joseph Vincoli. The hospital accused Vincoli of contacting the State Health Plan about his concerns that the state plan had overpaid Baptist. He was fired in 2007.

The taxpayer-provided health insurance plan provides coverage for 663,000 state employees and teachers.

A state auditor's report determined that Baptist overcharged the state plan by $1.3 million.

Baptist Hospital dropped its lawsuit against Vincoli last October.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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