Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Texas clinics flooded with insurance claims

Teresa John and Christina Crittenden with the Rewire.News

AUSTIN, TX – Abortion is a highly regulated procedure in Texas. In most clinics, it is banned after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

A woman may get a post-abortion drug (difluoroethane) in her ninth week. Then, in her ninth month, her doctor could give her a pill to induce an abortion.

But a few women are having problems getting to the clinic. Planned Parenthood, a clinic that performs about 1,200 abortions each year in Dallas, has been flooded with insurance claims for injuries caused by a flood near its office.

Sarah Ingram, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood of Texas, told Dr. Phil that the damage from the flooding was so severe that the doctor’s office could not go in, so they didn’t operate.

“We were woken up one night in the middle of the night by a very loud pounding, a knock on the door, and a guard at that door who gave us a bit of brief instruction, ‘if you are called upon to go to work, please open the door,’ ” Ingram said.

The building is owned by a subcontractor and not Planned Parenthood. It is not covered by workers’ compensation or workers’ compensation insurance, so Planned Parenthood couldn’t pay for repairs and lost income.

They’re not alone.

On average, about 75 women per day will be turned away from the University Medical Center Brackenridge — the only public abortion clinic in Dallas — while they wait for insurance.

Dr. Julia Gabrione, chief medical officer for the hospital, said despite working around the clock to help women with insurance claims, at least 50 women a day are still turned away and forced to travel.

“That really is a limit that we have as a hospital to allow these women to access services that they need,” Gabrione said.

Because these clinics are private and insurance companies do not cover abortions, women must buy out-of-network policies to get one, and they’re often far from home.

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