A Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas, a women’s health care provider specialist, received an unexpected visit from health inspectors and investigators on Thursday.
Texas Health and Human Services Commission Visit Planned Parenthood
Health investigators with responsibility for the state of Texas attended Planned Parenthood locations in both Dallas and San Antonio, Houston. The visit is thought to have come without warning and the reasons for the dual visits were not immediately confirmed by authorities.
Medicaid Document Sought by Texas Officials
The Health and Human Services Commission in Texas were not at liberty to discuss the activities or investigations of the Office of Inspector General. However, information came to light suggesting that issues with Medicaid were the reason for the visit with the San Antonio Planned Parenthood office receiving demands for many thousands of patient-related documents connected to Medicaid.
There is an ongoing dispute between the federal government and Texas administrators over the blocking of Medicaid participants to have the right to choose which provider they wish to be treated by. For many women living on a low income in Texas, Planned Parenthood is their clinic of choice where they are provided with services ranging from screening for cancer to contraception plans.
Fetal Tissue Sold
Other issues relating to the role that various Planned Parenthood clinics, such as one in Omaha, Nebraska, have played recently include them selling fetal tissue for medical research purposes. It has been suggested that some Planned Parenthood clinics sold fetal tissue at a profit. This has been disputed by the said clinics who were caught on tape allegedly making the sale.
Planned Parenthood in Texas Cut-off Medicaid Based on Video Content
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHS) had confirmed previously that Planned Parenthood in Texas was being cut off Medicaid. This would essentially prevent the clinic from providing affordable health-care to the poorer women in the community.
The HHS noted that Planned Parenthood in Texas were alleged to have failed to provide adequate care and had possibly repeatedly breached good conduct guidelines based on videos captured at various times which indicated the said problems were substantial and ongoing.
Abortion Timing Changed?
What was particularly disturbing about the video content was that both the method and the timing of abortions carried out at Planned Parenthood of Texas seemed to have been adjusted to provide the most usable fetal tissue rather than being medical decisions made in the best interest of the Medicaid enrollee.
Texas State Letter Outlines Most Egregious Conduct by Planned Parenthood
In the letter sent to Planned Parenthood from the Texas state, they pointed out that the clinic did not have adequate measures in place to avoid infectious diseases being spread around between employees, patients and subsequently, members of the public.
The HHS believes that they have a solid case for fraud. Previous cases such as Reynolds vs. Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast resulted in an out-of-court settlement amounting to $4.3 million.
In a closing note, the Texas state pointed out to Planned Parenthood that their Medicaid termination did not prevent women from seeking alternative Medicaid providers in the state that were already part of the Texas Women’s Health Program which includes continued Medicaid support.
Deciding to become a whistle blower comes at heavy cost. Tony Menendez is a good example of someone who wanted to do the right thing but quickly realized his actions would change his life forever.
Tony Menendez highlighted irregularities in Haliburton’s accounting practices in 2005. This would lead to a nine year battle with the company.
The Email that Changed Tony Menendez’s Life
The email that would change Tony’s life forever arrived in February, 2006. The sender was Halliburton’s Chief accounting officer, Mark McCollum. The email stated that “The SEC has opened an inquiry into the allegations of Mr. Menendez”.
Mr. Menendez had made complaints to the SEC about accounting practices in Halliburton but now the senior staff were aware of this. His first reaction was to wonder how they had found out this information about his contact with the SEC. He left the office and notified his wife about the situation.
Fighting against Halliburton
His next move was to find a lawyer who could help him. He contacted an attorney called Philip Hilder who deals with whistle blowers. Hilder told him not to talk to anyone about his whistle blowing activities until he met him. When they met, Tony was told about the struggle that took place with other clients and the corporations they reported for illegal activities.
The personal lives of whistle blowers are easily destroyed when they take on large corporations. Despite this, Menendez believed he was doing the right thing and would prevail against Halliburton.
It wasn’t long after he landed his dream job that he realized that something was wrong and his new employers were breaking many accounting rules. He advised the company to change some of their practices and at first other accounting executives agreed with this. However, the problems continued and he was unsure about how to address them. Eventually Menendez made a confidential complaint to the SEC.
After making the complaint, nothing happened for a few months. However rumor about the SEC started to emerge. Once it was revealed that Menendez had spoken to the SEC, the email from McCollum was sent out to staff stating that “the SEC is investigating Mr. Menendez’s complaints”. This was a way to label Menendez as a traitor to the company. Straight away the content of this email changed the way fellow staff treated Menendez and he began to feel more and more isolated. Friends could no longer be seen with him.
An external inquiry was then set up but Menendez was not included. Other events signaled that Menendez was up against more than just his employer. In 2006 Halliburton was cleared of any wrongdoing. Menendez decided to meet the SEC once again. In September 2007 he brought Halliburton to court for the intimidation which occurred after he complained to the SEC. However, Halliburton won the case. The judge even mentioned that he was not surprised fellow work mates were shunning Menendez because he was a whistle blower.
Tony Menendez still felt he was right. However events were taking their toll and he once said “I was fighting for my livelihood, my family, my credibility. For the rest of my life. This would have been a death sentence for my future”. He then decided to represent himself. Eventually in 2011he had a legal victory after going through an appeals process and was awarded a token sum of $30,000 for being proven right about his complaints but no penalties were given to Halliburton by the SEC.
Menendez is now a GM Executive. Unlike many whistle blowers he had a certain amount of success but having the courage to complain about the wrongdoings of his employers came at a cost.
There are many examples of modern whistleblower like Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning. They revealed so much information about United States confidential military documents and violations. All of the three are under some sort of prosecution and imprisonment threats for their deeds against national security.
There are also some cases of whistle-blowers seeking a pardon from some higher rank officials and even sometimes from the president. This was the case of Jeffrey Sterling. He was sentenced for a three and a half years in prison for blowing the whistle and standing up for his rights. His wife wrote a personal letter to the President of the United States where she is stating that her husband was just calling up for his constitutional rights as the every other American. She said that these types of whistle blowers existed even through 14 different administrations and that they weren’t prosecuted at the same way as her husband.
Her husband was sentenced at the federal court on the nine felony charges including seven counts of espionage. According to the court he gave some important classified documents to the New York Times on the subject of CIA’s covert Operation Merlin and some false information’s given by Bill Clinton to the Iranian government in order to slow down its nuclear program.
All the time Sterling claimed that he was innocent and that government agency pointed out the finger at him without any reason based on some phone calls and messages. He was sentenced nonetheless. Sterling is currently imprisoned in the state of Colorado – hundreds of miles away from his family.
News whistleblower: there was also the case of John Kiriakou, a CIA officer and he was also sentenced for whistle blowing. He is serving a 30 month prison penalty for revealing some information about torturing techniques used by the secret services and CIA. He was first to describe waterboarding. He describes the method that a single brief instance of waterboarding is sufficient to extract answers from someone. He was a person responsible for capturing of Abu Zubaydah, Al-Qaeda third ranking official. John was also charged in helping Edward Snowden in his numerous “whistle-blowing illegal” activities.
These are the stories of real humans that are honest and are fighting for themselves and their rights. They cannot to fight this battle alone especially when there is a whole state against you. Prosecution of these men is nothing but a representation of a police state and its laws. This is the first look on the lives of whistleblowers. These are humans who are fighting for truth and moral causes. Most of them are sentenced for their deeds and sent to jail.
Some people are considering whistle-blowers as real life heroes. They are doing this all in the favor of the real truth and real stories. Media is making them look as some villains who are bringing nations security into the question and on the other hand they are just letting us know what is really going on in the world’s governments and intelligence centers.