OKLAHOMA CITY - Two Planned Parenthood affiliates in Oklahoma may have their contracts terminated due to their high rate of billing errors.
Governor Mary Fallin is urging the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) to consider terminating their contracts with the two main Planned Parenthood affiliates in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. She is also asking OHCA Chief Executive Officer Nico Gomez to end contracts with similar providers with high rates of billing errors, including overcharging.
Since the majorities of Planned Parenthoods qualify for federal match, the state of Oklahoma made a total payment of "slightly more than $1 million" to the Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma in Oklahoma City and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland in Tulsa, according to a press release from Mary Fallin's office.
A review of PP's operations reportedly didn't show any improper use of those affiliates' Medicaid funds. However, there was a billing error rate of more than 20% at one location and more than 14% at another.
“These results are alarming,” wrote Fallin in a letter to Gomez. “These errors result in overbilling to the Oklahoma taxpayer. The lack of attention to the requirements imposed on a responsible provider is a continuing problem for these Planned Parenthood affiliates.”
Fallin assures that terminating contracts with the Planned Parenthood affiliates in question would not interfere with a woman’s ability to have a free choice of healthcare provider services, as there are more than 120 other health providers that provide "a broader spectrum of health care services than Planned Parenthood’s metropolitan locations."
“We have a joint responsibility to the citizens in Oklahoma to hold providers to high standards that are imposed to allow an entity to receive taxpayer dollars,” Fallin wrote. “The recent behavior of the Planned Parenthood affiliates clearly demonstrates that these providers do not value the opportunity to serve their fellow Oklahomans with taxpayer funds. Indeed whether willful or simply negligent, the consistent submission of improper billings should disqualify these Planned Parenthood providers from participation in the Oklahoma Medicaid program.”
The Oklahoma Healthcare Authority released the following statement on the announcement:
"I have received the Governor's letter concerning our contracts with Planned Parenthood in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority is in an audit process with this provider. When the audit is complete in the next few weeks and if the billing errors on the part of Planned Parenthood remain consistent and confirm the initial findings, I will respectfully comply with the Governor's request to terminate our contracts accordingly," said CEO Nico Gomez.
Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland sent a joint statement about the Governor's call to action.
"Governor Fallin's letter is premature and incredibly disappointing. The fact is that Planned Parenthood serves thousands of Oklahomans each year, and it's wrong to downplay the vital preventive health and reproductive health services we provide. The findings of these audits are a normal part of the process in reviewing health care reimbursement. Often, it is simply a matter of submitting additional documentation that supports the request for full Medicaid reimbursement. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma are currently reviewing the results of the audits and both agencies have every intention of responding through the appropriate channels once we have."