May 21, 2009 in City

Planned Parenthood undergoes leadership changes, audit

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Planned Parenthood of the Inland Northwest has undergone a management shuffle during the past year and is attempting to settle a state audit that uncovered Medicaid overbilling and other problems.

Management of the local Planned Parenthood operation is being handled out of Yakima by Anna Franks, the chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Central Washington. Franks reportedly travels back and forth to perform management duties.

Jet Tilley, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, described the management changes, which included the departure of former Chief Executive Officer C.J. Gribble, as a collaborative decision.

“It was something that was done jointly, between Planned Parenthood and (Gribble),” Tilley said. “The changes are a separate issue from the audit.”

Gribble was reassigned from CEO to clinical services director in September. But the latter position has since been eliminated, and Gribble no longer works for Planned Parenthood. She has an unlisted telephone number and could not be reached for comment.

The audit performed by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services examined three years of Medicaid billing of patients from March 2004 through February 2007.

Tilley described the audit as routine, though one that has already prompted changes within the organization, which serves eight Eastern Washington counties and nine counties in northern Idaho.

“(Medicaid) audits are happening all the time. This one is no different,” she said. “This is not anything we’re worried about. There’s been no suggestion that there’s been any fraud.”

Planned Parenthood has contested the audit’s findings, a formality that is part of a back-and-forth process between auditors and organizations.

Once an audit report is finalized, it is made available for public review, DSHS spokesman John Wiley said.

Tilley said the audit found “Medicaid billing errors, documentation errors and other issues.”

“We’ve taken some corrective actions.”

Planned Parenthood executives, including Franks, declined requests for interviews Wednesday.

Medicaid is a taxpayer-funded program that provides health insurance for the poor. It receives federal and state tax dollars administered by DSHS.

Dr. Kim Thorburn, who worked briefly as health director of Planned Parenthood, said Wednesday night that the audit was a long-running issue and of concern to the board and staff.

“I hope they get over the hump they have been trying to get past for some time now,” she said.

“Planned Parenthood is an organization that provides critical reproductive health care services to young women across our region.”

John Stucke can be reached at (509) 459-5419 or johnst@spokesman.com.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email