Today is the day that Planned Parenthood of Spokane either has to send a check for $629,000 to the Department of Social and Health Services for the overbillings found in the recent audit, or file an appeal.
Repeated inquiries to both Planned Parenthood and the group's attorney, David B. Robbins, have gone largely ignored. We have left numerous messages with Anna Franks, the acting president of PP of Spokane, asking what they plan to do. Ms. Franks, who runs PP of Central Washington, took over PP of Spokane about the same time the financial scandal became publicized, though she claimed the one thing had nothing to do with the other, according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review.
While Ms. Franks repeatedly described the audit as "routine" in her sole public statement on the issue, she has declined interviews, and claimed she was "strongly" considering appealing the findings. She did not give any indication as to which of the five separate categories of overbilling she disputed.
While Mr. Robbins is an expert at defending clients accused of Medicaid fraud, he suggested we not read too much into that, claiming he is equally experienced at helping clients with more basic Medicaid overbilling issues. (That was the only correspondence we received from him that even partially constituted an answer to our questions.)
We will find out by the end of the day whether DSHS has received a check, but either way, we are still eagerly anticipating word from Washington Medicaid director, Doug Porter, as to whether or not the state is going to bring fraud charges against Planned Parenthood, whether they are investigating other PP affiliates in the state for similar patterns of overbilling, and whether or not they are extending the overbilling investigation for Spokane beyond the period of the audit, which just covered three years from 2004 to 2007.