A Michigan health department serving four counties overcharged low-income women for birth control and falsified records to hide the charges, according to a report by the state’s Office of Audit. The health department provides services with money from federal grants, local tax revenue, and third-party insurers. Services are supposed to be available on a sliding scale to low-income clients. Despite the health department management’s knowledge of the violations, more than 1,000 low-income women paid full price for birth control and contraceptives between 2003 and 2005, AP reports.
Ogemaw County commissioner and board member John West, who had requested the audit earlier this year, said he does not know exactly how much money is involved but believes that more than $75,000 was improperly collected over the two year period.
Community members are raising concerns over the health department’s violations and the fact that nobody who was aware of the health department’s activity came forward. Ogemaw County Commissioner Bev Scott told the Bay City Times, “I want to know why. Why, when management knew what was going on, did they do nothing? Why did they contribute to the cover-up?” Board members and management will hold an open meeting on Oct. 17 and the board will discuss the state audit at its regular meeting on Oct. 23.