July 11, 2012 — The U.S. attorney general and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller (D) both declined to take up a whistleblower lawsuit accusing Planned Parenthood of the Heartland of nearly $28 million in fraudulent Medicaid billing and health care practices, the Des Moines Register reports.
The suit, which is detailed in documents unsealed this week, was brought by Susan Thayer, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director, with support from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian group that opposes abortion rights.
Thayer filed the suit in March 2011 under state and federal whistleblower laws, which sealed the complaint while state and federal authorities reviewed it and decided whether to prosecute the case.
Details of Allegations
The suit alleges PPH "unbundled" services related to elective abortion care and billed those to Medicaid, but not that it billed for the actual abortion procedures. PPH could face up to $5.5 billion in fines if found guilty of fraud. The suit also charges that Planned Parenthood employees prescribed contraceptives for up to 14 months without a qualified health care provider seeing the patients or conducting follow-ups.
Thayer worked at a Planned Parenthood clinic for almost 17 years before her job was eliminated because of budget restrictions. Jill June, president of PPH, said, "It wasn't until employment was ended that Thayer partnered with this extreme group against Planned Parenthood, that she began releasing mistruths about our organization." June described the lawsuit as part of "a pattern of harassment against women's health care and Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country" (Finney, Des Moines Register, 7/11).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership