It’s all been leading up to this: investigators with Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission are asking for Medicaid patient records from Planned Parenthood clinics in San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas, seeking information on women who made fetal tissue donations. The demand letter was sent the same day state investigators raided four PP clinics.
This is all happening the same week Texas cut Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program. Becca Andrews at Mother Jones obtained a copy of the letter sent by HHSC Deputy Inspector General R. David Holmgren to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, which has a clinic in Houston. The pretext here is to make sure that the Medicaid services provided, the letter says, “were medically necessary, provided in a quality manner, and billed appropriately.”
Among other things, the HHSC is requesting “physician orders, progress notes, personal clinic notes, nurses’ notes, procedure reports,” as well as lab tests, and the very broad “charts” and “graphs.” The records, according to the subpoena, are for patients billed through medicaid between November 1, 2010, and September 30, 2015 and where “the provider performed or provided an abortion and removed or preserved any part of the aborted fetus to be used for any research purpose.”
The agency is also seeking various employee records for those clinics, presumably with the intent of finding and interviewing them. The deadline for PP Gulf Coast was originally 24 hours; it has reportedly been extended to October 30.
According to KVIA, Ken Lambrecht, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, called the subpoena “unprecedented and unnecessary,” adding, “We believe this is a fishing expedition. We believe that this is exactly what it is, another political attack targeted at Planned Parenthood.” He said Planned Parenthood would make “every effort” to cooperate with the subpoena, while working to protect patient and employee confidentiality.
Anti-abortion protesters on the steps of the Texas Capitol, Austin Texas, July 28, 2015. Photo via AP Images