The Texas Attorney General’s office announced Wednesday that it entered into a settlement with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast requiring that organization to reimburse the state $1.4 million in erroneous and fraudulent billing.
The investigation found that the Planned Parenthood chapter “improperly billed the Texas Medicaid program for products and services that were never actually rendered, not medically necessary, and were not covered by the Medicaid program – and were therefore not eligible for reimbursement,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced in a press release.
“For example, state investigators determined that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast falsified material information in patients’ medical records in order to support fraudulent reimbursement claims to the Medicaid program,” Abbott said.
The Attorney General’s office began its investigation on the basis of information provided by Karen Reynolds, a whistleblower and long-time former employee of Planned Parenthood. Reynolds alleged in a separate lawsuit that she had filed that Planned Parenthood employees were instructed to use deceptive billing practices to defraud the state, according to LifeSiteNews.
The practices included billing for services never provided, not medically necessary or deceptively charging for abortion-related services in violation of the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment is a federal provision that bars the use of certain federal funds to pay for abortions with very limited exceptions.
According to Reynolds, when post-abortive women came in for a follow-up visit, PPGC told its employees to “ask if she needs any other services such as birth control,” thus allowing them to make it appear as if the purpose of the visit was for a reason other than abortion-related care. “If she is interested, screen for” the state Women’s Health Program or Medicaid, they instructed. “If the client is getting on birth control make this the focus of the visit and put a note in the chief complaints that the client had a surgical or medical abortion ‘x’ weeks ago.”
Every post-abortive woman was given a bag of contraceptives, so the offices could put in a request for reimbursement in the form of state family planning funds.
Pro-life activists have long alleged that Planned Parenthood uses public funds to underwrite its abortion business, in violation of the Hyde Amendment.
Although pro-life activists applauded the Attorney General’s findings and the settlement reached with Planned Parenthood, former PPGC manager Abby Johnson, who has her own lawsuit pending against the affiliate alleging fraud, said the settlement will do little.
“My former affiliate has an endowment of $20 million dollars just sitting in an account. This settlement is simply a slap on the wrist,” she wrote. “This is no victory.”
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