Oklahoma Medicaid agency ending Planned Parenthood contracts

AP News
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Posted: May 04, 2016 6:30 PM

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma is ending its contracts with two Planned Parenthood organizations that provide health services to thousands of mostly low-income women and families, the head of the state's Medicaid agency said Wednesday.

Oklahoma Health Care Authority Chief Executive Officer Nico Gomez said the agency notified Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma and Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma in February of its intent to terminate provider agreements with the two affiliates.

"My decision in February was made based upon what I firmly believe to be the best interests of this agency going forward," Gomez told The Associated Press in a statement.

The state contracts with the two affiliates will remain in place until June 29, which Gomez said should provide members obtaining services at Planned Parenthood clinics time to make any necessary alternative arrangements.

Planned Parenthood operates clinics in both the Tulsa and Oklahoma City metropolitan areas, providing services like cervical and breast cancer screenings, birth control, sexually transmitted infection treatment and testing, vaccinations and immunizations, and family practice services. The clinics do not provide abortions in Oklahoma.

The intent to terminate the contracts was made "without cause" under the parties' agreements, which permit either Planned Parenthood or the agency to terminate the contracts, Gomez said.

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin urged Gomez last year to cancel the contracts citing what she called a "high rate" of billing errors. Planned Parenthood has said the problems are exaggerated.

"Our doors remain open for the people who choose Planned Parenthood for their health care, including patients covered by Medicaid," Tamya Cox, an attorney for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said in a statement Wednesday.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has not responded to the AP's open records request made in November for information on the agency's billing-error rates.

State health officials in Kansas confirmed Wednesday they were cutting off Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood's regional affiliate effective next week.

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