Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin moved Thursday to cancel the state’s contracts with two Planned Parenthood affiliates, but she didn’t cite the Center for Medical Progress’s explosive hidden-camera videos.
Instead, Ms. Fallin pointed to a review conducted by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority that showed a pattern of billing errors by the affiliates, including charging too much for services provided.
“These results are alarming,” said Ms. Fallin in a letter to OHCA chief executive officer Nico 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.”
The review found a billing error rate of 20.3 percent, or 1 in 5 bills, for one affiliate. The other had a 14.2 percent error rate, or 1 in 7.
“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 Mr. Gomez in a statement.
Ms. Fallin’s action comes as at least a half-dozen states move to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood in the wake of the videos, which raise questions over whether the organization is profiting from fetal-tissue procurement for medical research.
Long before the first video was released in July, however, Planned Parenthood had tangled with states over issues such as Medicare fraud and whether public funds are being used indirectly to fund abortions in violation of state and federal law.
In 2015, the Oklahoma affiliates were paid $100,145 for 19,546 claims, the “vast majority” of which qualify for a 90 percent federal match for a total payment of slight more than $1 million, according to the governor’s press release.
The year before, the state paid $204,631 for 36,741 claims for a total of slight more than $2 million when combined with federal matching funds.
In a statement, the two affiliates called Ms. Fallin’s decision “premature and incredibly disappointing,” arguing that the errors could be attributed to “a normal part of the process in reviewing health care reimbursement,” such as the delays associated with submitting additional documentation to Medicaid.
The affiliates—Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland—said they have “every intention of responding through the appropriate channels.”
Planned Parenthood has sued to stop Louisiana from cutting off public funding, saying such a move would violate federal law by preventing patients from having access to their preferred medical provider.
Ms. Fallin said terminating the contracts would not interfere with patients’ ability to access health care. The Oklahoma and Tulsa affiliates operate in about six locations, she said, while Oklahoma has 120 urban and rural health-care providers.
All of those providers offer “a broader spectrum of health care services than Planned Parenthood’s metropolitan locations,” she said in her statement.
“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,” Ms. Fallin said. “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,” she said.