Monday, July 30, 2012

All Smiles' version of "take the money and run"

From the Dallas Morning News
In a rare move, one of the largest dental providers in the Dallas area is systematically turning away thousands of its young Medicaid patients as it shutters its entire orthodontic operation by the end of the month.  All Smiles Dental Centers, a Dallas-based company, will close all 13 of its orthodontic offices after an audit of those operations by the state’s Medicaid program last fall.

The audit was part of a broader investigation into possible Medicaid fraud throughout Texas.  “We agreed to wind down our orthodontic offices and ended up dismissing about 12,000 patients in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” Michael Lozich, All Smiles’ chief compliance officer, said Thursday.  “We’ve been trying to help them find new providers.”
 . . .
Dr. Christine Ellis, a Dallas orthodontist who audited Medicaid’s billing records for dental services, said Thursday she faulted the providers for their “truly unbelievable” and “not accidental” practices.
In April, she told a congressional committee investigating Medicaid fraud, “They only were interested in treating kids without real problems. Once they had them in braces, they delivered inefficient care and a whole lot of additional unnecessary appliances to increase their payment from Medicaid.”

Five years ago, Texas decided to pump $1.4 billion into dental services for indigent children.

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