Citing fraud concerns, Texas investigators subpoena Planned Parenthood records

After spending the last several months embroiled in national controversy, Planned Parenthood is facing Medicaid fraud allegations that has resulted in an investigation by Texas state officials, according to The Houston Chronicle.

In a letter dated Oct. 19, Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Inspector General Stuart Bowen informed Planned Parenthood of the agency's strategy to terminate the provider from the Medicaid program for "serious Medicaid program violations" including fraud. The letter did not cite specific instances, but highlighted a 2013 fraud case that Planned Parenthood settled for $4.3 million.

On Thursday, Texas HHSC officials served subpoenas to more than a dozen Planned Parenthood providers, asking them to hand over thousands of patient and employee records. A letter obtained by The Chronicle indicated the state was "conducting an inspection related to certain claims paid by the Medicaid program."  

State officials would not comment on the investigation, but Gov. Greg Abbott indicated that the state had more evidence of Medicaid fraud beyond the allegations raised in the 2013 lawsuit. Planned Parenthood representatives said the scope of the subpoenas was "unprecedented" and referred to the investigation as "political grandstanding."  

Appointed in the wake of a $110 million no-bid contract scandal, Bowen has taken significant measures to reduce the backlog of fraud cases, while touting a new law that restructures the definition of fraud and prevents the commission from misusing it's authority to freeze Medicaid payments.

Other states, like Alabama and Louisiana, have also pushed to block Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, a move that may run afoul of federal law.

For more:
- read the Houston Chronicle article
- here's the letter from the Texas HHSC Office of Inspector General

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