LifeNews.com

Planned Parenthood Medicaid Fraud Lawsuit Heads to Appeals Court

by Steven Ertelt | Des Moines, IA | LifeNews.com | 3/14/13 3:04 PM

State

The lawsuit from a former Planned Parenthood abortion clinic manager who sued the abortion giant accusing it of engaging in massive fraudulent activities is now heading to a federal appeals court.

The lawsuit followed a new investigation of Planned Parenthood in Illinois and Planned Parenthood abortion companies in other states having been found to have engaged in overbilling and Medicaid fraud.

Planned Parenthood clinic director Sue Thayer filed the lawsuit against the abortion giant’s Iowa affiliate accusing it of submitting “repeated false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible claims for reimbursements” to Medicaid and failing to meet acceptable standards of medical practice. Alliance Defending Freedom filed the suit for Thayer in March 2011.

The pro-life legal group informed LifeNews today that ADF attorneys representing Thayer filed notice in district court Wednesday that they are appealing her fraud case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. A district court judge dismissed her lawsuit in December of last year.

The lawsuit claims that Planned Parenthood’s Iowa affiliate submitted “repeated false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible claims for reimbursements” to Medicaid and failed to meet acceptable standards of medical practice.

“Americans deserve to know if their hard-earned tax money is being funneled to groups that are misusing it. That is why we are appealing this case,” said Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton, a former United States Attorney. “No matter what views people have about abortion, everyone can agree that Planned Parenthood should play by the same rules as everyone else.”
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed suit in March 2011 on behalf of Sue Thayer under a federal law that allows “whistleblowers” with inside information to expose fraudulent billing by government contractors. Alliance Defending Freedom has also filed a similar lawsuit against a Texas Planned Parenthood affiliate.

Thayer, former manager of Planned Parenthood’s Storm Lake and LeMars clinics, sued under both the federal and Iowa False Claims acts. The suit 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.

“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.  After much thought, I contacted the Alliance Defending Freedom,” Thayer said about the lawsuit. “I believe that it is an important piece in the nationwide effort to shed light on the darkness and deception surrounding America’s largest abortion provider – Planned Parenthood.”
The lawsuit alleges that Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa, an affiliate now known as Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, filed nearly one-half million false claims with Medicaid from which Planned Parenthood received and retained nearly $28 million.

The lawsuit explains 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 received for the pills was $26.32. In some cases, the Postal Service returned the pills to Planned Parenthood. Instead of crediting Medicaid or destroying the returned pills, Planned Parenthood resold the same 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.

CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!

 

Jenifer Bowen, the executive director of Iowa Right to Life, told LifeNews her group is fully supportive of the lawsuit.

“Iowa Right to Life has been exposing Planned Parenthood’s dishonest practices for years,” she said. “That they would rip off low-income women for profit is no surprise.  Their CEO, Jill June, alone makes over $265,000 a year. I cannot wait to see how they spin this.”

Des Moines attorney J. Russell Hixson, one of nearly 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, is assisting with the case, Thayer v. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.