Texas IG Officials Raided Planned Parenthood Clinics

From Breitbart:

Agents from the Texas Office of the Inspector General arrived Thursday morning unannounced at Planned Parenthood clinics in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, seeking documents related to allegations of Medicaid fraud.

The officials, according to a Reuters report, remained for several hours in some cases at the clinics, giving administrators 24 hours to deliver documents to them.

Planned Parenthood said the raid was “politically motivated,” says the report, and that the Texas agents demanded that thousands of pages of documents stored in their clinics throughout the state be delivered within 24 hours.

“We believe this is a fishing expedition,” Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region Chief Executive Officer Ken Lambrecht said at an Austin news conference. He added that Texas was requesting information Planned Parenthood thinks is unnecessary, such as employees’ home addresses, salaries, and bonuses.

“We have begun terminating your enrollment because, based on the evidence outlined below, you are liable, directly or by affiliation, for a series of serious Medicaid program violations,” Stuart W. Bowen Jr., Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s inspector general, said in a letter to the CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC) Melaney Linton, reports Amarillo.com.

“The State has determined that you and your Planned Parenthood affiliates are no longer capable of performing medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner,” Bowen continued. “You may request an Informal Resolution Meeting (IRM) with my legal staff to discuss the findings in this Notice of Termination.”

“Planned Parenthood has 30 days to respond, according to Bowen.” If they fail to do so, they will be automatically terminated from Medicaid funding. Planned Parenthood calls it a “malicious, political attack.”

“It is completely outrageous that Texas officials are using these thoroughly discredited, fraudulent videos to cut women off from preventive health care, including cancer screenings, HIV testing, and birth control,” said executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Dawn Laguens, according to Amarillo.

The raid comes several days after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced that Texas would be ending Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates in his state following the release of a series of videos exposing the abortion business’s apparent practice of selling the body parts of aborted babies. The group is under investigation by several congressional committees for possibly criminal activities.

Prior Planned Parenthood scandals involving allegations of Medicaid fraud have occurred over the past several years.

In 2013, then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced a settlement—a total of $4.3 million—with PPGC, which covers Texas and Louisiana, to resolve allegations of Medicaid fraud.

As SETexasRecord reported, following a whistleblower’s lawsuit against PPGC and Abbott’s follow-up inquiry into the matter, PPGC was found to have “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,” the Record continued. “Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast allegedly falsified material information in the medical records of patients to support fraudulent Medicaid reimbursement claims.”

Then, last year, a federal judge in Houston ruled that PPGC must face Medicaid fraud claims regarding STD and HIV blood tests performed. The lawsuit was brought by a former accounts manager for PPGC who alleged that the company saw a 300 percent increase in revenues by falsely claiming the tests were performed by a doctor when they were performed by another non-physician employee.

A statement released by Abbott this week notes the letter issued by Bowen’s office.

“Texas has stepped forward and shown its unyielding commitment to both protecting life and providing women’s health services,” Abbott said. “The gruesome harvesting of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood will not be allowed in Texas and the barbaric practice must be brought to an end.”

“As such, ending the Medicaid participation of Planned Parenthood affiliates in the State of Texas is another step in providing greater access to safe healthcare for women while protecting our most vulnerable – the unborn,” the governor added.

~~~~~~~~~

Earlier this month when Governor Abbott stopped the state Medicaid funding of these clinics, that was seen as a good start to shutting down Planned Parenthood, but these IG visits could be taking it too far.

Like most conservatives, I want to see PP shut down too, but there is no mention of a warrant or of having any evidence of fraud other than PP’s history. Unless there is suspicion of fraud occurring currently, these actions might not hold up in court.

The employees working at these locations would have some expectation of privacy when it comes to IG’s demands for their addresses and payroll information. Granted, this isn’t the equivalent of the privacy expectations one would have in their home, but even at work a person expects some degree of privacy.

It gets us nowhere, in fact it would be a step backward if PP’s attorneys can use these actions as grounds for a lawsuit because Abbott got overly zealous in his attempts to shut them down and violated their fourth amendment rights. I hope our governor knows what he’s doing.

~Kathy

Tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Texas IG Officials Raided Planned Parenthood Clinics

  1. Hardnox says:

    This Virginian is really loving Texas.

  2. Uriel says:

    I get a bit worried as well. Their IRS reports should provide most of that. However if allegations were made and fraud discovered it is no different than several other insurance fraud cases making their way through courts now. In fact several have already received prison sentences from Florida to Louisiana. Texas would have to prove to court this was a legal investigation not a political move. Not sure the cases would hold up under that premise so rightful fraud could skate.

    • Kathy says:

      I like Abbott’s ‘go-get-em’ attitude and with his background, he of all people would make sure it’s done within the law. I’m just not so sure the IGs were that careful in carrying it out. We complain when the feds pull stunts like this, and the states should be equally responsible.

    • I.R. Wayright says:

      So it’s okay when the IRS blocks Tea Party organizations from tax exempt status for political reasons (and nobody goes to jail, gets fired, etc.) but it’s not okay for Texas to look for fraud at Planned Parenthood?

      • Kathy says:

        No, IR, it’s not okay for the IRS to block Tea Party organizations, although that didn’t stop them. Yes, it’s okay for Texas to look for fraud IF they’re following procedure and the law. If they don’t, it will come back to bite them in the butt, an area where the IRS is exempt.

        I don’t want Texas to give the O admin any reason for retaliation or a payback of any kind – that’s what I worry about when they ask for personal info like addresses. If they violated those people’s 4th amendment rights, PP’s attorneys will swoop down on that and try to make a huge deal out of it.

  3. tannngl says:

    I think I love Abbott’s TX!

    The demand for employee information surprised me too, however we don’t know what basis they are using for their investigation. I worked in hospitals for 35 years. Some investigative bodies could come in with no notice and demand information on procedures, records and personnel data.

    Medicare and Medicaid could.

    When I remember that in going through a union drive in the 60’s and the hospital had to provide employee information including addresses in the unit they were trying to get the union…2 teamsters visited my very young nurse’s aid who lived alone with her little girl. They threatened her.

    I’ll bet they won’t be visiting these people at home with threats.
    Bet they’ve got their ducks in a row, including the supeana or else the clinics would have never provided a single document.

    • Kathy says:

      Thanks so much for that info, tannngl – that’s very enlightening. Given that perspective gives me hope that they’re going by the book and maybe not opening themselves up to a lawsuit.

      I really like Abbott and don’t want to see him falter like Rick Perry did – especially so early.