Saturday, 10 August 2013

Planned Parenthood Pays Hefty Settlement in Texas Medicaid Fraud Case

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The final settlement in a Planned Parenthood whistleblower Medicaid fraud lawsuit in Texas turned out to be significantly higher than the $1.4 million announced July 30 by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. The Houston Chronicle reported that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast will pay a total of $4.3 million to the federal government, the state of Texas, and Karen Reynolds, the former Planned Parenthood employee who blew the whistle on the abortion business.

In the specifics of the case, the Southeast Texas Record, a state legal journal, reported that “Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast allegedly improperly billed the Texas Medicaid program for services and products that were not rendered, not medically necessary, and were not covered by the Medicaid program. The alleged improper billing practices were not eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast allegedly falsified material information in the medical records of patients to support fraudulent Medicaid reimbursement claims.”

Reynolds brought the alleged fraud, which she contended stretched back over the 10 years of her employment, to the attention of the Texas attorney general's office, which launched an investigation. LifeNews.com reported that the investigation uncovered compelling evidence that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast had submitted false claims and made false statements in connection with claims submitted to Medicaid and the Texas Women’s Health Program.

According to the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood's “billing policies routinely instructed clinic staff to enter billing codes for certain services, regardless of whether patients' charts recorded that such service was actually provided.”

In response to the settlement, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast issued a statement insisting that the “allegations that it submitted more than $30 million in fraudulent bills between 2003 and 2009 were 'baseless,'” reported the Houston Chronicle. In its prepared statement Planned Parenthood emphasized that its payment of the settlement “is not an admission of guilt.”

Under the terms of the settlement, wrote pro-life activist Jill Stanek on LifeNews.com, the federal government will receive the bulk of the money, $2,552,169, with $500,831 going to the state of Texas, and whistleblower Reynolds receiving a hefty bounty of $1,247,000.

Responding to the news, Sarah Crawford of Texas Right to Life wrote that the settlement demonstrates “the desperation of the abortion industry to keep its tendrils in the pockets of taxpayers. Under federal rules, any provider convicted of fraud is ineligible for federal healthcare dollars for a minimum of five years. Seemingly, the threat of losing the only government funding stream left for them in Texas motivated them to settle their fraud lawsuit even at such a high cost.”

Crawford added that the the abortion giant “lies to women as well as to every state in the nation about its true motives. Though Planned Parenthood claims their abortion services are entirely separate from actual medical services, even the Houston Chronicle featured an article stating otherwise. Planned Parenthood is concerned with keeping the lucrative abortion business thriving while scamming women and the American people.”