Planned Parenthood Whistleblower Appeals Ruling Dismissing Fraud Lawsuit
by Steven Ertelt
January 15, 2009
Sacramento, CA (LifeNews.com) — A former vice president of a Planned Parenthood abortion business affiliate in California has filed an appeal of a judge’s ruling dismissing his lawsuit. P. Victor Gonzalez says the abortion business fired him because he raised concerns about illegal practices of overcharging the state.
The former Planned Parenthood official filed a lawsuit in March 2008 against affiliates in California saying they overcharged the state hundreds of millions of dollars on birth control.
Gonzalez says his own internal audit estimates that Planned Parenthood overcharged California taxpayers for purchasing birth control by at least $180 million.
He was the vice president of finance and administration for Planned Parenthood of Los Angles and, according to a Los Angeles Times report, the overbilling began in the late 1990s.
While other public health facilities and private facilities charged the state between $8 and $9 for a cycle of birth control pills, Planned Parenthood charged almost $12. The Planned Parenthood charge to the California government was several times more than it paid for the drugs originally.
Gonzalez alleges that other California-based Planned Parenthood affiliates and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California knowingly engaged in a scheme to defraud state and federal taxpayers by deliberately over-billing the Medi-Cal program.
According to the California Catholic Daily newspaper, attorneys for Gonzales filed papers on January 5 with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They are appealing a decision by Judge A. Howard Matz dismissing Gonzalezs suit.
Matz’s decision came in October and he ruled that Gonzalez did not qualify as a whistleblower under federal law because he was not the "original source" of the data exposing the fraud. As a result, he said his court lacked jurisdiction in the suit.
The Planned Parenthood overbilling occurred until state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara sponsored legislation allowing Planned Parenthood to charge more based on concerns the abortion business presented her that it would suffer financial problems without it.
However, altering the statute didn’t address the billing practices prior to it and a 2003 state audit found at least $5.2 million in overbilling in 2003 alone from just one of the nine California Planned Parenthood affiliates.
Gonzalez’s attorney Jack Schuler says Medi-Cal officials first noticed the problems in 1997 and that Planned Parenthood received two separate letters at that time pointing out the problems.
However, state officials now say Planned Parenthood was given conflicting information on billing practices. They say Planned Parenthood does not need to repay the millions it overcharged state taxpayers.
Still, Gonzalez wants the abortion business to be held accountable for firing him abruptly on March 9, 2004 for doing his job and pointing out that it was breaking the law.
The complaint documents what we believe is evidence of extensive, organized fraud by Planned Parenthood in California, Schuler said in a statement about the appeal, according to the newspaper.
"A previously buried and ignored California Department of Health Services 2004 Audit, which found more than $5 million in egregious over-billing in two years by the San Diego/Riverside Planned Parenthood affiliate, is an extraordinary indictment against Planned Parenthood," he said.
He concluded: "Here is the ultimate Hollywood movie set facade of a corporation that poses as charitable while grossly over-billing government programs funded to service the needy, not the greedy.
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