Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast took the occasion of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s signing of a new omnibus pro-life law today to announce it was closing three of its 12 clinics. The reason, per Huffington Post:
The three clinics are located in Bryan, Huntsville and Lufkin, Texas. They are closing in response to a new package of a new package of abortion restrictions signed into law on Thursday and funding cuts to Texas’ Women’s Health Program that were passed by the Texas state legislature in 2011. Out of the three Planned Parenthood clinics that are closing, only the Bryan clinic performs abortions.
Planned Parenthood timed its notice to steal media attention away from pro-lifers, while also trying to put Texas legislators on the defensive. But was this really an attempt to erase dots between the shutdowns and PPGC’s problem with Medicaid fraud?
Most interesting is the former employees who have accused PPGC of Medicaid fraud worked at two of the closing clinics.
The charges may or may not lead to prosecutions, but my first thought today was that subsequent attempts by PPGC to clean up its books resulted in such a noticeable loss of profits it had to shutter the doors at 1/4 of its centers, two of which were surely under added scrutiny.
I spoke with Abby Johnson this afternoon, who agreed the Medicaid fraud charges had something to do with the closures.
“I think a lot of things went into account,” Abby added. “The loss of income from the State of Texas and the new regulations played a part. Then there was the constant presence of pro-lifers in Bryan that took away the bulk of its income from surgical abortions. Plus, all three facilities were 40 Days for Life sites. And, yes, PPGC also knows the state is watching their books, so they can no longer get away with charging for services they don’t provide.
“What’s makes this even more hilarious is PPGC just spent so much money on the Lufkin facility, which was abortion ready but not asc (ambulatory surgical center) ready,” Abby said. “With the passage of HB2, they knew they could never perform abortions there.”
Major donors to the Lufkin clinic included Buddy and Ellen Temple and David and Jean Dolben, now had.
This action prompted the Louisiana legislature to open its own investigation of the PP affiliate in June.