Today U.S. Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra demanding a full accounting of every federal dollar that has been provided to The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital (“the Center”) since its inception.

"Recently, a whistleblower who was formerly employed at the Center alleged in a sworn affidavit that the Center may have committed multiple violations of federal law, including by fraudulently billing federally-funded insurance programs," the Senators wrote. "As Members of U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, we have a responsibility to investigate her claims that federal taxpayers may have financed the Center’s activities improperly. Doing so requires a full accounting of every federal dollar that has been provided to the Center since its inception."

As part of his ongoing investigation, Senator Hawley previously sent a letter to Washington University in St. Louis Chancellor Dr. Andrew Martin and BJC HealthCare President and CEO Richard Liekweg, requesting information about the receipt and use of federal funds in connection with the Center. Yesterday, Chancellor Martin confirmed to Senator Hawley that Washington University would comply with the request within four weeks.

Last month, Senator Hawley introduced legislation that would allow those who were harmed by gender-transition procedures as minors to bring lawsuits against the participating individuals and entities. The Protecting Our Kids from Child Abuse Act would prohibit federal funding from any pediatric gender clinic, any university or hospital that is affiliated with a pediatric gender clinic, and any gender-transition procedure performed on minors.

Upon announcing his investigation in early February, Senator Hawley sent a letter to the university chancellor, hospital president, and the center’s co-directors demanding the institutions immediately take steps to preserve all records, written and electronic, regarding gender-related treatments performed on minors since the opening of the Center. 

Last month, Senator Hawley opened a whistleblower tipline for those with direct information about potential malpractice and abuses happening at pediatric transgender centers.

Read the full letter here or below:

March 3, 2023

The Honorable Xavier Becerra
Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, D.C. 20201

Dear Secretary Becerra:

We write to request information regarding federal payments made to The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital (“the Center”). Recently, a whistleblower who was formerly employed at the Center alleged in a sworn affidavit that the Center may have committed multiple violations of federal law, including by fraudulently billing federally-funded insurance programs. As Members of U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, we have a responsibility to investigate her claims that federal taxpayers may have financed the Center’s activities improperly. Doing so requires a full accounting of every federal dollar that has been provided to the Center since its inception.

As first reported in The Free Press, the whistleblower Jamie Reed alleges an extraordinary pattern of abuse and potential malpractice committed by the Center’s staff. Among the various shocking allegations in Ms. Reed’s sworn affidavit is her claim that the Center billed the cost of gender-transition procedures to federally-funded insurance programs—a practice which apparently continues to this day. According to reporting by The Washington Post, Ms. Reed “alleged that the center billed some treatments to the federal Medicaid health care program.”

Furthermore, Ms. Reed alleges that she “personally witnessed [the Center’s] staff report that they were aware that patients had been coded incorrectly” on bills sent to publicly-funded insurance programs. In other words, she alleges that the Center committed insurance fraud.

As you may know, the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs is authorized to study and investigate:

the efficiency and economy of operations of all branches of the Government including the possible existence of fraud, misfeasance, malfeasance, collusion, mismanagement, incompetence, corruption or unethical practices, waste, extravagance, conflicts of interest, and the improper expenditure of Government funds in transactions, contracts, and activities of the Government or of Government officials and employees and any and all such improper practices between Government personnel and corporations, individuals, companies, or persons affiliated therewith, doing business with the Government, and the compliance or noncompliance of such corporations, companies, or individuals or other entities with the rules, regulations, and laws governing the various governmental agencies and the Governments relationship with the public.

Accordingly, please provide the following information by no later than March 16, 2023:

  1. All copies of bills, grant requests, or any other documents submitted or sent by the Center to the Department of Health and Human Services or any subagency thereof.
     
  2. All receipts of federal disbursements made to the Center by or under any program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services or any subagency thereof.
     
  3. All records concerning or relating in any manner to the Center’s application for funding under any program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services or any subagency thereof.
     
  4. All communication, including emails, between the Center’s employees and the Department of Health and Human Services or any subagency thereof.

Sincerely,

Josh Hawley
United States Senator

Roger Marshall, M.D.
United States Senator

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