Tallahassee, FL: Today, James H. Peterson, III, Administrative Law Judge, Division of Administrative Hearings ruled that Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) “failed to demonstrate that it did not know and should not have known that the online ITOP reporting form was an unadopted rule.”
ITOP is the standard report of Induced Termination of Pregnancy; this decision follows AHCA’s attempt to impose a new interpretation of the unadopted form by incorrectly claiming Planned Parenthood had “self reported” unlawful procedures. In fact, AHCA had accepted Planned Parenthood’s reporting for nearly ten years and never accused the organization of any wrongdoing. Planned Parenthood challenged the unadopted form and alleged AHCA should have incorporated it into a rule. AHCA responded by doing what it should have done all along and, accordingly, attorneys’ fees of $7,170.00 were awarded to Planned Parenthood, which AHCA must now pay.
Statement from Barbara Zdravecky, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida:
“We are pleased with the Judge’s decision. We have stated all along that AHCA had no evidence to cite our Fort Myers, Naples and St. Petersburg health centers. Despite AHCA already knowing this, they filed the charges and caused Planned Parenthood to devote considerable time and resources to frivolous and unwarranted charges when such resources could have been devoted to providing additional care and services to the Floridians who rely on Planned Parenthood every day for health care.
“Gov. Scott’s Agency for Health Care Administration acknowledged way back on August 18 that our cited health centers may continue to perform safe and legal first trimester abortions. AHCA agreed then – as we have maintained all along – that, as long as the procedures performed are within 14 weeks from the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period (LMP), they do not exceed these health centers’ licenses.
“We will continue to protect access to a full range of reproductive health care options for Floridians and push back against all politically-motivated attacks.”
Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, began operations in 1966 and provides vital sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education to women, men and teens in Ft. Myers, Immokalee, Kissimmee, Lakeland, Manatee, Naples, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and Tampa. The mission of Planned Parenthood is to ensure the right of all individuals to manage their sexual and reproductive health by providing medical services, education and advocacy. Go to www.myplannedparenthood.org for information or call (941) 365.3913.
Anna Eskamani: 941-209-7940, [email protected]
June 24, 2016