When you can’t get in through the front door, go through the back door. Texas has done exactly that with Planned Parenthood. Thursday LifeSiteNews reports that according to media reports, investigators from the state of Texas served subpoenas at three Planned Parenthood facilities to determine whether their employees are guilty of defrauding the state’s Medicaid program.
According to Planned Parenthood officials, inspectors from the Office of Inspector General walked into Planned Parenthood abortion facilities in San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas this morning and demanded the offices turn over employee and patient records for inspection. A representative from the state’s Health and Human Services Commission told local media that they were there for “oversight” only as the inspectors did not publicly disclose the purpose of their visit. However, some familiar with the investigation told media outlets that the inspectors were investigating charges that the facilities illegally used Medicaid money to fund abortions. “This has been a day that I have been waiting for,” Abby Johnson, the former manager of a Planned Parenthood facility in Texas, told LifeSiteNews.
“The breadth and depth of what was requested this morning was unprecedented,” Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas’ vice president for community affairs, Sarah Wheat, told the Austin Statesman.
Inspector General Stuart Bowen Jr. wrote a letter Monday citing undercover video recordings by the Center for Medical Progress that show Planned Parenthood agreeing to alter its abortion technique to maximize the number of body parts harvested and to receive payments. The action comes just three days after HHSC officials announced plans for Texas to remove Planned Parenthood from its Medicaid program. A “prima facie case of fraud” was also mentioned by the inspector.
Denying any wrongdoing, Planned Parenthood officials went on the defense. “Representatives from the Texas Office of Inspector General showed up at Planned Parenthood health centers in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio looking for an excuse to take health care away from thousands of women and men who rely on Planned Parenthood for preventive care — but what they will see is professional, compassionate and quality health care,” said Yvonne Gutierrez, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, in a statement. “Despite their efforts to distort the truth, health care — no matter what — is what happens at Planned Parenthood.”
A former employee of the nation’s leading abortion provider feels differently and says the charges ring true. Abby Johnson stated, “I am confident that these investigators will find enough information to not only continue to defund Planned Parenthood in our state, but to also disqualify them from any future funding efforts,”
Accusations of Planned Parenthood defrauding taxpayers in not only Texas but nationwide are not new. In 2013, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC) paid $4.3 million to settle allegations of Medicaid fraud, refunding the Texas state government and the Obama administration. There are also allegations that Planned Parenthood bilked Texan taxpayers for a decade by performing unnecessary medical procedures on incarcerated teenagers.
Johnson also filed a lawsuit in 2012 accusing Texas Planned Parenthood affiliates of fraudulently billing the Texas Women’s Health Program of more than $5.7 million. The Alliance Defending Freedom recently released a report that “improper practices” fleeced taxpayers nationwide out of $129.7 million at “a minimum.”
“Our goal is not just to take away their money. Our goal is to shutter their doors,” Johnson told LifeSiteNews. “I believe we will see that day, in large part due to courageous men and women who have stepped away from their jobs at Planned Parenthood and have come forward with incriminating information.”
KVUEabc reports Thursday that earlier this week, the HHS alleged that Planned Parenthood “committed and condoned numerous acts of misconduct captured on video that reveal repeated program violations and breach the minimum standards of care required of a Medicaid enrollee.”
Even though Planned Parenthood settled the Reynolds case – the “whistleblower” – for $4.3 million, the allegation had sufficient evidence of fraud to assure the federal court handling the matter and that the case was worth pursuing. In the letter, the state told Planned Parenthood,
“Your termination and that of all your affiliates will not affect access to care in this State because there are thousands of alternative providers in Texas, including federally qualified health centers, Medicaid-certified rural health clinics, and other health care providers across the State that participate in Texas Women’s Health Program and Medicaid.”
The state went on to say the videos “indicate that you follow a policy of agreeing to procure fetal tissue even if it means altering the timing or method of an abortion. These practices violate accepted medical standards, as reflected in federal law, and are Medicaid program violations that justify termination.” However, no charges of criminal wrongdoing have been brought against Planned Parenthood of Texas regarding anything contained in the videos released by the anti-abortion group, Center for Medical Progress.