Oklahoma governor urges state health department to end contracts with Planned Parenthood
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, November 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin is calling for her state to cancel its contracts with Planned Parenthood affiliates over "their high rate of billing errors" that she says show a lack of "competence."
In a letter to Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) Chief Executive Officer Nico Gomez, Fallin cited reports from OHCA that show 14.1-percent and 20.3-percent error rates in Medicaid reimbursement requests from the state's two Planned Parenthood affiliates.
According to the governor, "the recent behavior of the Planned Parenthood affiliates clearly demonstrates that these providers do not value the opportunity to serve their fellow Oklahomans with taxpayer funds."
Under Oklahoma law, Planned Parenthood's contracts can be canceled by OHCA. Fallin's letter urged Gomez to pull funding for the abortion giant based upon the reports, which Fallin's office had requested earlier in the year to verify whether state funds were being misused.
Neither affiliate was found to be improperly using state Medicaid dollars, but the reviews did show the high error rates.
According to a press release from Fallin's office, her constituents were on the hook for more than $200,000 in reimbursements in 2014, and about half as much in 2015. "In 2015, the state paid the two Planned Parenthood affiliates $100,145 for 19,546 claims," she writes. "[T]he vast majority of Planned Parenthood services qualify for a 90 percent federal match, making the total payment slightly more than $1 million. In 2014, the state paid $204,631 for 36,741 claims; federal matching funds made the total slightly more than $2 million."
Fallin's letter was sent Wednesday night; a state spokesperson told LifeSiteNews that OHCA sent a letter to Planned Parenthood on Thursday, declaring intent to pull funding. OHCA did not provide that letter to LifeSiteNews by press time. A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland did not respond to LifeSiteNews's request for comment about Fallin's letter by press time.
In the letter, Fallin cited reports from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) showing that Medicaid overbilling is common among Planned Parenthood affiliates. She also cited a lawsuit from Sue Thayer, a former clinic manager at Iowa's Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. Thayer, who is represented by ADF, is a whistleblower who says nearly half a million fraudulent claims were made by the abortion giant, worth almost $28 million.
Fallin also cited a $4.3-million settlement between Planned Parenthood's Texas affiliates and that state's officials – though Planned Parenthood did not admit guilt in the settlement.
In apparent anticipation of legal arguments that women would have difficulty finding access to health care if Medicaid reimbursements were restricted from Planned Parenthood, Fallin noted that there are only six Planned Parenthood locations in the state, all in two cities.
Meanwhile, "more than 120 other metropolitan and rural health care providers are available" for Oklahoma residents, wrote Fallin. These include "federally qualified health clinic sites, rural health clinics and private Medicaid providers, all of whom provide a broader spectrum of health care services than Planned Parenthood’s limited metropolitan locations."