Tuesday August 17, 2010
Reports Reveal $3M in Federal Funds Misappropriated by New Jersey Family Planning, Planned Parenthood
By Kathleen Gilbert
TRENTON, New Jersey, August 17, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Audits by the United States Inspector General have uncovered that family planning clinics, including Planned Parenthood, have improperly taken Medicaid reimbursement for family planning services.
The audits were released by New Jersey Right to Life as pro-abortion state lawmakers lobby not only to restore $7.5 million in state family planning funds, but to acquire a federal waiver that would permanently secure the 90% Medicaid reimbursement rate for family planning clinics. Pro-life Governor Chris Christie has withdrawn a waiver application, and last month vetoed an attempt to restore the state funding, a move lawmakers are angling to override.
While the state of New Jersey has taken responsibility for the incorrect recording of services, the audits leave open the question of how far the clinics themselves were complicit in the misappropriation of funds. The reports show that a total of almost $3 million was misappropriated over the course of 2001-2005.
One report, issued in 2008, singled out Planned Parenthood providers as guilty of billing all claims to Medicaid as “family planning,” including services that did not meet federal criteria for the 90% reimbursement rate. The normal Medicaid reimbursement rate is about 50%. In that report, the state was urged to reimburse almost $600,000 in Medicaid funds, and to amend their billing processes.
Instead of services that “prevent or delay pregnancy,” which are eligible for the waiver, the report found that services such as treatment for swollen ankles and a rash were listed as “family planning,” as well as other services administered to patients well beyond childbearing age. Others simply lacked documentation.
Another 2008 report found New Jersey to have improperly received reimbursement for 111 of 161 examined claims, requesting over $160,000 to be returned. A 2007 report requested the return of over $2.2 million thanks to the state of New Jersey incorrectly designating 227 National Drug Codes as related to family planning.
“The facts cannot be denied,” said New Jersey Right to Life (NJ RTL) in a press release. “Planned Parenthood’s supporters not only want to use $7.5M in taxpayer dollars to fund these family planning clinics, they also want the state of NJ to permanently apply for a federal waiver to reimburse family planning clinics 90% for every Medicaid service they provide despite the clinics’ history of improperly billing Medicaid and contributing to the nearly $3M in fees calculated by the Federal Government to be refunded to them.
“Taxpayers should be outraged.”
NJ RTL executive director Marie Tasy expressed disappointment that the IG audits went unnoticed as Planned Parenthood gained favor with the media during its fight for more taxpayer funds. “It’s sinful that the press did not do their homework when this issue was being used in the news,” Tasy told LifeSiteNews.com, adding that the arrogance behind the misappropriation “is astounding.”
Whether it’s Planned Parenthood or the state’s fault, she said, the audits reveal a “systematic abuse” that funnels taxpayer cash towards family planning.