Texas gives the boot to anti-abortion women’s health care coordinator
AUSTIN — Texas health officials who awarded some $6.3 million in state contracts to an anti-abortion women’s health care coordinator announced Friday that the contracts are being canceled after the group misused some of that funding.
The inspector general is now investigating how The Heidi Group — tasked with connecting low-income women with medical providers — spent about $1.1 million that it received from the state with billings that are suspected to be for ineligible services. The group will also have to pay back the commission at least $29,400 in state money that went toward other costs that are not allowed under its contract.
“The Heidi Group has had substantial deficiencies in the areas of contract compliance, service administration, and financial and administration management of both contracts,” reads a statement from the Health and Human Services Commission. Although the group will be removed from the network, the commission said thousands of providers are still available to serve low-income women’s health care needs.
State officials hired The Heidi Group, which is run by anti-abortion activist Carol Everett, in 2016 to provide family planning and wellness care, although she had no experience running a family planning program. The group won its first contract from the state two years ago, promising to serve almost 70,000 women, but has served just 3,356 clients, according to the commission.
Everett’s organization first won contracts to coordinate care for Texas women in the wake of a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision that dismantled the state’s regulations on abortion clinics as unconstitutional. Texas officials then approved a contract to The Heidi Group, unveiled a fetal burial policy and inserted inaccurate information in state brochures about abortion.
“Given the anti-abortion sentiment that controls state government, I assume that’s why the Heidi Group was favorably considered,” said Rep. Sarah Davis, a Houston Republican and a critic of The Heidi Group. “It seems that we are not wisely using taxpayer dollars.”
The contracts will terminate Dec. 11.