Clinic suspected of illegal exams

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A medical clinic allegedly recruited poor city youngsters, paid them up to $10 to undergo unnecessary exams, including gynecological tests, and then billed the state.
No arrests had been made, and an investigation was continuing Wednesday as detectives studied records seized from the clinic.
“If any of it is true, it’s absolutely outrageous,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe said.
Paramount Medical Center employees allegedly picked up the children between the ages of nine and 14 from housing projects in South Central Los Angeles, north Long Beach and Compton. They then took them to the clinic in the Paramount area of Los Angeles, authorities said.
Calls seeking comment from clinic officials went unanswered.
Each boy was reportedly paid $5 and each girl $10. Girls were paid more because gynecological exams could be performed on them, sheriff’s Sgt. Mason Kenny said.
“To a kid, (it) seems like a lot of money,” said Glenda Wining, spokeswoman for county Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke.
The children were given prescriptions for spermicidal condoms and birth control following the examinations, Kenny said.
The number of children involved could not be determined immediately, Kenny said. Los Angeles County supervisors have launched a campaign to notify parents in the areas where children may have been solicited.
Investigators who searched the clinic on Sept. 14 confiscated all records, billing documents and other evidence that indicated the clinic treated about 100 boys and 25 girls daily, authorities said.
The investigation was instigated by a parent of a child who was a patient at the clinic, Kenny said.
A task force was investigating whether clinic employees committed Medi-Cal fraud, solicited people to be fake patients and endangered children’s lives, according to Burke’s office.
Family planning clinics are allowed to perform certain medical procedures on children without obtaining parental consent, Wining said.
Sheriff’s investigators plan to complete the investigation by the end of the week to turn it over to the district attorney’s office for possible prosecution, Kenny said.