Nic, Bupkis and Nichevo

About Nothing, by Nothing, with German-flavored cleavage occasionally thrown in for local color.

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

You can email me at NicBupkusNichevo at aol dot com. Aren't you excited?

Monday, March 14, 2005

From the Indy Star

Michele McNeil at the Indianapolis Star just posted a short article in the ongoing investigation into activities at Planned parenthood centers across the state, excerpted here:

Planned Parenthood of Indiana is suing Attorney General Steve Carter to stop his office from seizing the medical records of 73 low-income Medicaid patients who have sought reproductive services. None of the records involves abortions.
The Attorney General's office, in a letter presented at three Planned Parenthood health centers earlier this month, stated that its Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was investigating an incident report or complaint alleging patient abuse or neglect.

Federal health privacy laws don't apply for Medicaid fraud or abuse investigations, and facilities can risk losing Medicaid funding if they don't comply with investigators and turn over patient records...The eight records already turned over are of 12- and 13-year-old patients. In Indiana, anyone under age 14 who is sexually active is considered to be a victim of rape. Cockrum said Planned Parenthood personnel follow the law and report those patients to child protective services for further review.

She called this unprecedented -- that patient records have never been demanded like this in Indiana from her health centers.

Ken Falk, an attorney with the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood, said Carter's office was "going way beyond its power" and invading Hoosiers' privacy. He said he found no similar cases like this in the nation.

While this *is* an unprecedented move on the part of of a SAG, the fact that none of these cases involve abortion but all seem to focus on the extremely young give me some concern about the ACLU's privacy complaint. If it is about Medicaid fraud, I am a bit supicious about the very specific age group targeted - why not a much broader spectrum? if instead these records are being requested into a statewide investigation of stat rape and child abuse, is this really the jurisdiction of the state and not the counties? I realize Indiana is socially the Deep South in everything but geography, and early teen pregnancies are not unexpected (a local morning radio show recently held a contest for the youngest batural - in other words, biological - grandmother in their audience; they were squicked at 32 and tried to end the contest, but not before a woman could call in and recommend her 28-year-old sister), but again, is this an issue for the SAG to pursue? I'd really, really like to hear more from Carter on his reasons.


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