Thursday, September 03, 2009

PP Spokane Appealing Entire Audit: Doesn't Want to Pay $629,000

We finally have a copy of Planned Parenthood of Spokane's (PPS) appeal of the recently finalized audit by the Washington State Department of Social and Human Services (DSHS). The audit found that Planned Parenthood had overbilled Medicaid by $629,000 and required them to pay that money back. It is the only significant, finalized audit of a Washington State Planned Parenthood by the state government in recenty history.

As we recently reported, Planned Parenthood filed a notice of appeal two weeks ago, but DSHS did not reveal any details as to the extent or basis of the appeal. We immediately requested a copy. It's finally here.

We are still reviewing it and will post a full report within days. The appeal is 26 pages long, written by their surly attorney, David R. Robbins, of Bennett Bigelow & Leedom, in Seattle. It seems to challenge all five categories of the audit findings. One of their main arguments seems to be that DSHS is applying rules governing pharmacies, but Planned Parenthood says they are not a pharmacy, and shouldn't be bound by such rules.

One of the major categories of illegal billing that DSHS found was for oral contraceptives that were not supported by legitimate prescriptions. Another was charging for condoms above the acquisition cost. According to original documents we have obtained from the government, during the course of the audit then PPS president CJ Gribble conceded in writing to the overbilling for condoms, and seemed eager to repay the state. But according to the appeal, PPS, now under the leadership of Anna Franks, is no longer conceding this error.

Interestingly, from what we've seen so far, like the audit document itself, the appeal makes no mention of "requiring too many office visits by its poorest clients", which is what Washigton Medicaid directory Doug Porter told the Spokane Spokesman-Review was the main finding of the audit. We have asked Mr. Porter to explain this discrepancy. We are still waiting for a satisfactory answer.

Keep checking back for more on this very important story.

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