Former Planned Parenthood employee sues abortion giant claiming massive Medicaid fraud
DES MOINES, July 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Another former Planned Parenthood employee is accusing the abortion giant of engaging in systemic fraud, according to a lawsuit made public today.
Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund) filed the suit on behalf of former Planned Parenthood clinic director Sue Thayer against the abortion giant’s Iowa affiliate in March 2011. The suit accuses Planned Parenthood of having submitted “repeated false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible claims for reimbursements” to Medicaid and failed to meet acceptable standards of medical practice.
“During my last years working at Planned Parenthood, it became increasingly clear to me that not all of their policies and protocols were completely legal and ethical,” Thayer said in announcing the suit.
Thayer joins former Planned Parenthood employees Abby Johnson, Karen Reynolds, and P. Victor Gonzalez, all of whom have filed separate lawsuits alleging widespread and massive fraud at the abortion organization. Gonzalez’s claim alone alleges $100 million in fraud.
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“Americans deserve to know if their hard-earned tax money is being funneled to groups that are misusing it,” said Michael J. Norton, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom. “People may hold different views about abortion, but everyone can agree that Planned Parenthood should play by the same rules as everyone else.”
ADF attorneys filed the suit under a federal law that allows “whistleblowers” with inside information to expose fraudulent billing by government contractors. By law, such cases may not be made public until a court unseals them.
Thayer, the former manager of Planned Parenthood’s Storm Lake and LeMars clinics, states that Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa, an affiliate now known as Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, filed nearly half-a-million false claims with Medicaid, from which Planned Parenthood received and retained nearly $28 million.
The lawsuit alleges that Planned Parenthood knowingly committed Medicaid fraud from 2002 to 2009 by improperly seeking reimbursements from Iowa Medicaid Enterprise and the Iowa Family Planning Network for products and services not legally reimbursable by those programs.
If Thayer prevails, Planned Parenthood could be ordered to pay the United States and Iowa as much as $5.5 billion in False Claims Act damages and penalties, according to an ADF press release.
The lawsuit claims that, to enhance revenues, Planned Parenthood implemented a “C-Mail” program that automatically mailed a year’s supply of birth control pills to women who had only been seen once at a Planned Parenthood clinic and usually by personnel who were not qualified health care professionals. After that, Planned Parenthood mailed thousands of unrequested birth control pills to those clients.
Planned Parenthood’s cost for a 28-day supply of birth control pills mailed to clients was $2.98, but the Medicaid reimbursement Planned Parenthood allegedly received for the pills was $26.32.
In some cases, the Postal Service returned the birth control pills to Planned Parenthood. Instead of crediting Medicaid or destroying the returned pills, the suit claims Planned Parenthood resold the same birth control pills and billed Medicaid twice for the same pills.
The suit also claims that Planned Parenthood coerced “voluntary donations” for services and then billed Medicaid for them.
Thayer said that she views her lawsuit as “an important piece in the nationwide effort to shed light on the darkness and deception surrounding America’s largest abortion provider - Planned Parenthood. It seems that GOD can use all those years that I spent working at Planned Parenthood for His good.”
Thayer’s team sued under both the federal and Iowa False Claims acts. The lawsuit Thayer v. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. Des Moines attorney J. Russell Hixson, one of nearly 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, is assisting with the case.
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