False claims and fraud: Lawsuit exposes Planned Parenthood deception
HOUSTON, Texas — Planned Parenthood submitted “repeated false, fraudulent, and ineligible claims for Medicaid reimbursements” through the Texas Women’s Health Program according to a federal lawsuit made public Friday. Alliance Defense Fund attorneys representing former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson filed the lawsuit in July 2010 against the abortion giant’s Houston and Southeast Texas affiliate.
“Americans deserve to know if their hard-earned tax money is being funneled to groups that are misusing it,” said ADF Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton. “No matter where a person stands on abortion, everyone should agree that Planned Parenthood has to play by the same rules as everyone else. It certainly isn’t entitled to a penny of public funds, especially if it is committing Medicaid fraud.”
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 must initially be filed under seal and may not be made public while federal and state governments decide whether to join the case.
Johnson, former director of Planned Parenthood’s Bryan/College Station clinic, is suing through ADF attorneys under the Federal False Claims Act and Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act. The suit alleges that Planned Parenthood knowingly committed Medicaid fraud from 2007 to 2009 by improperly seeking reimbursements from the Texas Women’s Health Program for products and services not reimbursable by that program.
The lawsuit alleges that Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas, now known as Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, filed at least 87,075 false, fraudulent, or ineligible claims with the Texas Women’s Health Program. As a result, Planned Parenthood wrongfully received and retained reimbursements totaling more than $5.7 million.
Texas effectively banned Planned Parenthood from participating in the Texas Women’s Health Program recently because state law says that the state’s Medicaid agency cannot contract with “affiliates of entities that perform or promote elective abortions.”
On Feb. 7, ADF publicly released its report to Congress in which ADF identified nearly $100 million in waste, abuse, and potential fraud committed by other Planned Parenthood affiliates and other service providers. Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida is currently leading a congressional investigation into the handling of federal funding by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest purveyor of abortions.
The lawsuit Johnson v. Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. Irving attorney Joshua Carden, one of nearly 2,100 attorneys in the ADF alliance, is assisting with the case.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.