Tennessee AG Only Needs Trans Children’s Medical Records To Combat, Umm, ‘Billing Fraud’, Yeah That’s All – News Block

Parents of trans children in Tennessee are somewhat puzzled by the news that the state attorney general’s office, Jonathan Skrmetti (sic), is examining patient records from the transgender clinic at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The AG’s office says there is nothing to worry about, and that it is simply investigating whether Vanderbilt somehow committed fraud by billing for care at the clinic, and don’t be silly, the state will respect patients’ privacy and is only investigating. if the hospital The Center for Transgender Health did bad things. In fact, if anyone has misbehaved here, the AG’s chief of staff insisted, it’s Vanderbilt, for notifying parents that the hospital released the records to investigators. It’s not fair! It was a secret!

The AG’s office confirmed to the Nashville Tennessee Tuesday that it is investigating the billing fraud, but went into detail. Vanderbilt sent notices to parents and patients letting them know the records had been turned over to the state. He Tennessee reports it

reviewed a VUMC notice informing patients of the move, which the center said was the result of an investigation into “billing for transgender care services provided to individuals enrolled in state-sponsored insurance plans.” The state requested medical records from January 1, 2018 to the present.

The attorney general’s office said VUMC began providing relevant records in December 2022 and that the state’s investigation is focused on the facility and certain providers, not patients.

The state has legal authority to request patient records as part of such investigations, the newspaper reports, but adds that families whose children attended the transgender clinic are concerned that Tennessee, like many other red states, is in the midst of an all-out crisis. . -on the right-wing culture war against trans people.

Lege state passed a ban on gender-affirming care that will take effect July 1, unless blocked by one of several lawsuits before then (more on that later), and the Vanderbilt Clinic was the focus of the right-wing media panic last fall. by stochastic terrorist Matt Walsh. Walsh claimed that Vanderbilt’s medical staff “neuters, spays, and mutilates both minors and adults,” prompting widespread threats and calls by lawmakers for the clinic to be investigated, if not literally burned to the ground.

So yes, you can see why parents may be a little concerned about what the state might be looking for in their families’ medical records, even though the notices VUMC sent to families indicated that the records were released to the state with the ” assurance that the AG’s office records would remain confidential as required by Tennessee law.”

In an emailed statement, AG Chief of Staff Brandon Smith told the Tennessee that the real scandal is that the hospital narrated about the Attorney General’s Office, a shame for the VUMC.

We are surprised that VUMC has deliberately chosen to scare its patients like this. (…)

The Bureau does not publish fraud investigations to preserve the integrity of the investigation process. The Bureau maintains patient records in the strictest confidence, as required by law. The investigation is focused solely on VUMC and certain related providers, not on the patients, as VUMC is well aware.

The statement added that the AG’s office has been “investigating possible medical billing fraud by VUMC and certain related providers since September 2022.” Wow, by sheer coincidence, that’s the same month that Matt Walsh started his crusade against the Vanderbilt gender clinic.

A follow-up statement on Thursday said the AG documents demands

They were prompted by a report his office received in the summer of 2022 that a Vanderbilt doctor “publicly described his manipulation of medical billing codes to circumvent coverage limitations on gender-related treatment,” the statement said. That led to the launch of an investigation last September into possible fraudulent billing violations involving Vanderbilt and “certain related vendors,” according to the statement.

Wow, where did that “report” come from?

For some reason, families of trans children don’t seem to recognize the wholly benign intentions of the state government, which seeks to deny their children health care and force them to go through puberty as the gender they don’t identify with.

God, they’re so suspicious, as the Tennessean reports:

Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, said three different parents of transgender children had called him in a panic since Monday after Vanderbilt told them their son’s medical records were turned over to the prosecutor. general as “part”. of an investigation.”

Sanders said the parents had no further details.

“They are terrified,” he said. “They don’t know what’s next, they don’t know how this is going to be used or if they’re going to be attacked in any way. They feel their privacy has been violated.”

On top of all that, we learned Thursday that according to court records, AG Skrmetti’s office sought a much broader range of information from Vanderbilt, seeking

documents at all levels of care, from patient records to volunteer resumes, communications with outside therapists, and emails submitted by members of the general public to an LGBTQ health questions portal.

The state investigation has also sought the names of anyone referred to Vanderbilt for transgender care for nearly a decade who chose not to seek care.

That’s a fun way to conduct a billing fraud investigation!

The story in Tennessee Lookout notes that it’s unclear whether Vanderbilt complied with requests for materials that went beyond patient records. Copies of the demand letters were included as part of a lawsuit seeking to overturn the new ban on gender-affirming care, which was filed with the ACLU on behalf of families of trans children and later joined by the US Department of Justice. A decision on whether to block enforcement of the law is expected before the law goes into effect on July 1. Given recent decisions blocking trans hate laws at Red America, that seems, dare we say it, likely. But it’s 2023, who knows?

He Be aware explain what

Seeking a preliminary injunction to put the law on hold while the legal case continues, attorneys for the families presented the attorney general’s demand letters as evidence of the immediate damage the impending ban will do without court intervention.

The lawsuit says VUMC has notified parents that, if there is no court order, they will have to end gender-affirming care on July 1, even though the law generously allows treatment to “tape” for existing patients through March. of 2024.

For a full list of all the documents the AG’s office requested, in incredible detail, they wanted every IRS form since 2015 for all the doctors at VUMC’s transgender clinic, for starters, check out the Tennessean, which first broke the story. This oddity seems to be just getting started, and it looks fucking fucked up.

(Tennessean/Tennesean Lookout/Tennesean Lookout/Tennesean)

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