August 20, 2013 — Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast has agreed to pay $4.3 million to settle allegations that it improperly billed Medicaid for women's health services provided at its Texas clinics between 2003 and 2009, the Wall Street Journal reports. The organization admitted no wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
The settlement stems from a whistle-blower suit filed by Karen Reynolds, a former Planned Parenthood employee who alleged that the organization billed Medicaid and other government programs for services that were not provided or that were medically unnecessary, such as birth-control counseling and tests for sexually transmitted infections.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas will recover most of the settlement (Koppel, Wall Street Journal, 8/16). The Texas Attorney General's Office also will receive a portion, totaling about $1.4 million (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/26).
The American Center for Law & Justice -- an antiabortion-rights legal group that opposes abortion and represented Reynolds -- said it is legally prohibited to comment on the case. However, the Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas said the suit revealed "an abuse of programs that are extremely important to the well-being of many American women."
PPGC -- which operates 12 clinics in southeast Texas and Louisiana -- said the suit was baseless. According to a PPGC statement, "The enormous cost in continuing this litigation in the hostile environment for women's health would have ensured a lengthy and costly process that would have distracted our energies from providing tens of thousands of women with basic, preventive health care they need" (Wall Street Journal, 8/16).