We often hear stories about the abuses of the Medicaid system and we call them "horror" stories. Monday’s News & Observer/Charlotte Observer has a real horror story about a criminal conspiracy masquerading as a dental practice in Charlotte. The details are chilling. A 5 year old little girl was strapped into a chair and had "mini" root canals done on 14 teeth with steel crowns added in one session. (Ever seen Sir Lawrence Olivier as the Nazi dentist in "Marathon Man?")
The article states that the child’s mother took her to the clinic to just have her teeth cleaned. What ended up happening was a multi-hour torture session on Antavia Digsby.
Where to begin? There is just so much wrong with this story.
- Children only have 20 teeth to begin with, so this person (pretending to be a dentist) got all but 6 of them.
- The staff refused to let the mother see the child during the "procedure." (Screams?, What screams?)
- The so called Dentist noted in the file that the child was "very uncooperative." (I’m sure.)
- The name of the practice is a dead give away: "Medicaid Dental Center" (Now known as Smile Starters)
- The owners have just agreed to pay a $10 Million settlement to avoid going to court for over charging Medicaid.
The Dental Board has documented other children as young as 4 years old having teeth pulled out and mini root canals while some children had 16 and 17 teeth canaled and crowned at this "Little Shop of Horrors". If they have the ability to pay a settlement of $10 Million, how much have they billed in the past? All of this happened nearly 5 years ago. How long have these crooks been defrauding the guv’ment (i.e. you and me)?
When dental & medical con men get wind of big money in Medicaid and Medicare, look out. John Dillinger never got his hands on $10 Million. Maybe he would have been better off becoming a dentist. Let’s hope the tooth fairy is good to Antavia and her mother in court.
When the government pays, fraud is inevitable. Hopefully, these con-dentists can use their alleged talents at a federal penitentiary near you.