Saturday, 13 April 2013

Updated Report Alleges Continued Abuse, Potential Fraud by Planned Parenthood

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The conservative legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom has updated its 2011 investigative report to the U.S. Congress on Planned Parenthood, charging the abortion giant, along with other “family planning” groups, with abuse, waste, and potential fraud totaling over $100 million in tax funding. The ADF's original report, prepared in cooperation with the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List for a congressional investigation led by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), identified a dozen types of potential fraud committed by Planned Parenthood affiliates across the nation, “that may amount to multiple millions of dollars in wasted taxpayer money,” the ADF said at the time.

Among the potential Planned Parenthood fraud was over-billing to federal Title XIX Medicaid agencies for medications and services provided in connection with abortion procedures — which is illegal under federal law. In addition, the ADF investigation found evidence of over-billing on Plan B contraceptives, billing for services that were unnecessary, multiple billings for initial pre-natal visits by patients, and incorrectly billing on other services.

The latest report, released April 10, supplements the earlier investigation, and reasserts the charge that “Planned Parenthood’s primary motivation is to maximize its revenues from complex, well-funded federal and state programs that are understaffed and rely on the integrity of the provider for program compliance.”

The updated reported states that as additional evidence of potential fraud and abuse on the part of Planned Parenthood affiliates has been uncovered, along with evidence of negligent treatment of women by the abortion provider, it becomes increasingly evident “that Planned Parenthood is far less concerned with providing competent healthcare to women than it is with padding its bottom line with taxpayer dollars, which in fiscal year (FY) 2012 totaled $542 million.”

ADF Litigation Counsel Catherine Glenn Foster said that American taxpayers “deserve to know if their hard-earned tax money is being funneled to groups that are abusing it. When it comes to accountability and transparency, Planned Parenthood’s publicly-funded, billion-dollar abortion empire has to play by the same rules as everyone else.”

The report offers details on 12 known audits or other reviews of the financial data of Planned Parenthood affiliates, along with over 40 audits of state family planning programs and organizations. According to the ADF, those audits uncovered a total of more than $108 million in waste, abuse, and potential fraud.

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The updated report also outlines several whistleblower lawsuits against Planned Parenthood affiliates around the nation. In one, Washington resident Jonathan Bloedow used state open records requests to uncover what he alleges are at least 50,000 false claims by Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest to Washington State's Department of Social and Health Services and its Health and Recovery Services Administration for reimbursement on oral contraceptives. Total damages for the alleged fraud could top $377 million, the ADF report said.

In Texas, former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson filed a suit against the abortion giant's Houston and Southeast Texas affiliate alleging “at least 87,075 false, fraudulent, or ineligible claims with the Texas Women’s Health Program,” reads the ADF report. “As a result, Planned Parenthood wrongfully received and retained reimbursements totaling more than $5.7 million.”

In a third lawsuit, continues the report, “former Planned Parenthood clinic manager Sue Thayer alleged that Planned Parenthood’s Iowa affiliate knowingly committed Medicaid fraud from 2002 to 2009 by filing nearly one half million false claims with Medicaid for products and services not legally reimbursable, from which Planned Parenthood received and retained nearly $28 million.”

And in a fourth legal action, Victor Gonzalez, who served as vice president of finance and administration (CFO) for Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles, alleges that the Planned Parenthood affiliate received improper Medicaid reimbursements far in excess of $200,000,000 after improperly billing the federal program for oral contraceptives and contraceptive devices.

The updated ADF report urges Congress to continue its investigation into the misuse of tax dollars by Planned Parenthood and other “family planning” groups. The ultimate goal is the complete federal defunding of Planned Parenthood.

In related news, Arkansas became the latest state to try to defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. The Huffington Post reported April 9 that the Arkansas State Senate voted 19-11 in favor of a bill to block all state funds from going to any organization that provides abortions or refers patients to an abortion provider. “The bill would also prohibit any organization that contracts with an abortion provider or referrer,” reported the news site, “including power companies, water companies, health insurers, or medical suppliers, from receiving any state money. Supporters of the bill argue that it prevents taxpayer money from indirectly paying for abortion and abortion referrals.”

As reported by The New American, in early March the Arkansas legislature passed what was then the strictest abortion ban in the nation, overriding Gov. Mike Beebe's veto to prohibit abortions after the twelfth week of pregnancy. Just a week later North Dakota trumped that record when its legislature passed a bill banning most abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy — when a heart beat can be detected in most pre-born babies. Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed the bill into law on March 22.

Photo at top shows Planned Parenthood facility in Houston