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DALLAS (CBS11) – The battle over Planned Parenthood’s future in Texas taking a new turn—and some say Medicaid patients are getting caught in the crossfire of the political opposition to abortion.
Earlier today, staffers from the office of the Inspector General, representing the state department of Health and Human Services, descended on Planned Parenthood offices in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. CBS 11 was on hand as they snapped photos; but, declined to say what prompted the visit.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Sr. Director of Public Affairs, Kelly Hart, filled in the blank.
“They requested thousands of pages of documents spanning 5 years,” says Hart. “The request for information includes unprecedented and unnecessary information such as the home addresses of employees.”
Planned Parenthood supporters insist that the agency has partnered with the state for decades and has cooperated with all audits as they provided preventative health screenings such as clinical breast exams, pap smears, HIV testing and counseling. However, they point to a tweet from Governor Greg Abbott earlier this week that promised to ban Medicaid patients from accessing those health screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics. They say the Inspector General visits are “politically motivated harassment” at the cost of women’s care.
“The people who are potentially going to lose, are the 13,000 patients who come to Planned Parenthood for preventive health care services,” says Hart.
An Austin based spokesperson for the Inspector General, Chris Cutrone, told CBS 11 that he could not “provide comment on any oversight or investigative activities.” But, explained that the agency exists to root out waste, fraud and abuse of Medicaid funds.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood officials insist that they have always passed audits and will comply with the law. Nevertheless, they say, they are considering their options while also working to protect patient privacy.
“Their privacy is our paramount concern—I would say that that our doors are open and we will continue to provide care and we will do everything we can to protect the confidentiality of our patients and our employees.”
Planned Parenthood was given 24 hours to produce the requested documents.