Friday, June 20, 2008

Small Smiles Update from Roberta Baskin 6-16-2008

6-16-2008
arrow WJLA TV's I-Team Reporter, Roberta Baskin, has an update on her Small Smiles Investigation:


-WJLA SCRIPT-

ANCHOR:
TONIGHT FROM THE ABC 7 I-TEAM, DRAMATIC NEW DEVELOPMENTS TRIGGERED BY OUR EXCLUSIVE SMALL SMILES INVESTIGATION OF THE NATION'S LARGEST PROVIDER OF DENTAL CARE FOR MEDICAID CHILDREN.

FOLLOWING OUR INVESTIGATION...MEDICAID AND SEVERAL PRIVATE INSURERS LAUNCHED THEIR OWN INVESTIGATIONS AND NOW, THEY'VE BEGUN TO TAKE ACTION.

THE I TEAM'S ROBERTA BASKIN IS HERE WITH MORE REACTION TO HER EXCLUSIVE REPORTS... ROBERTA?

ROBERTA BASKIN:
MEDICAID SUB-CONTRACTS TO THOSE PRIVATE INSURERS TO PROVIDE DENTAL CARE TO CHILDREN IN NEED. SMALL SMILES HAS BEEN THE BIG BENEFICIARY OF THAT ARRANGEMENT... UNTIL TODAY.

STORY:

The Small Smiles clinic in the District is turning away patients today and like the other four Small Smiles clinics in the area, cancelling most of its June appointments..

"Following audits by private insurance companies discovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary dental work. One company reported finding "teeth may have been pulled unnecessarily."

This father doubts his 7 year old son's teeth needed the work Small Smiles recommended.

"He have good teeth so I don't know why they say, fill it up with something."


Doral Dental USA has now terminated four of the 20 Small Smiles dentists in our area from its network and suspended its GROUP practices pending further review.

Colette Phoenix: "I honestly didn't know that they were being audited or even investigated for this." "It does raise some concerns so I'll definitely check into it."

Neither Doral nor Small Smiles will tell us the names of those dentists and declined to be interviewed…but the suspensions affect thousands of families who receive dental care at the chain's five clinics in the district and Maryland.

"After today, you know, I am look into see if I can find another dental clinic for her to go to, for both of them to go to."

Health insurance providers tell us they are contacting families to find new dentists for them.

ROBERTA BASKIN-"Is it difficult for you to find a dentist?"

Mom: "Yeah, yeah, it's difficult."

Our investigation in November exposed callous treatment of children…separating them from parents…strapping them to papoose boards to increase productivity, performing unnecessary procedures, and using unlicensed x-ray technicians.
We also revealed how Small Smiles worked the taxpayer funded Medicaid system.


Dr. Aldred Williams: "They threw up the white flag and said, "Okay, you don't have to preauthorize anything. Just do the work. So we flooded the system."

Doral Dental had suspended Small Smiles for three months following our investigation but has told the state of Maryland is has discovered even more irregularities. It will be another 4-6 weeks for Doral to complete its investigation.

ROBERTA BASKIN IN STUDIO:

UNITED HEALTHCARE, ONE OF THE LARGER INSURANCE COMPANIES CONTINUES TO REFER FAMILIES TO SMALL SMILES DESPITE FINDING MORE THAN A QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS IN QUESTIONABLE TREATMENTS.

MEANWHILE, THE MARYLAND ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE HAS A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY.

WE CONTINUE TO HEAR FROM PATIENTS AND EMPLOYEES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY ABOUT PROBLEMS WITH SMALL SMILES. KEEP CALLING AND GO TO OUR WEB SITE FOR LINKS AND RESOURCES:

WWW.WJLA.COM.

Click here and go to the bottom of the page to see Doral's Statement, Small Smiles Statement and Small Smiles Audit and Suspensions.

4 Must Read Comments:

Anonymous said...

The issue here that has not been addressed is this: By attempting to slander the names of the dentists who work for Small Smiles and treat children with medicaid, you in fact are creating an even worse situation for our children. The number of dentists that treat this population is shrinking. And unfair and sensational reporting like this will continue to make those numbers dwindle...... So when the next child dies because they can not find a dentist to treat them please know that this WITCH HUNT had a direct impact on it!

Anonymous said...

i am not a dentists but have seen this stort over and over again and again.i am however a medical professionals sister in law a private provider. he informed me that the dentists in this story were put through hell with their charts being reviewed, them being reviewed by their piers and were found innocent of all claims of abuse, mistreament and illegal misconduct.most were found innocent i should say.some how this reporter seems to constantly keep on this story. if i were the dentists on this witch hunt list i would sue you and the idiot reporter for slander and defamation of character. i understand a lot on your list has since moved on from small smiles on their own and has gotten clearance from the same insurances you accused them of being disqualified from

Castillomaid said...

I have never had a problem with the billing situtation. But what about the nurses and Dentist that fill like they can get away with abuse toward our childern. I'm a grandmother raising 4 granddaughters all go to Small Smiles until today. My 10 year old has asthma they know this and also knows she is scared of Dentist and Doctor from treatment on her asthma. They have always been pretty good about calming her down and making her fill safe. But when a Dentist goes in and belittles her because she is crying and scared and another (the Dentist Assitant) grabbes her arms and shakes her back and forth and all 3 of them laugh at her afterwards. She then makes a comment "You will probably get me fired". My granddaughter tells the Dentist she needed her inhaler because she was having a hard time breathing, instead of getting her inhaler the Dentist tells her "I think your doing this just to get attention". Then she says " Let's all stare at her and give her the attention and see if she will stop crying". I ask again who is protecting our children behind closed doors at Small Smiles. I went up and talk to some supervisor and she pretty much said my granddaughter was lying.

Me said...

Castillomaid:

PLEASE PLEASE call and report this to HHS @ 1-866-893-9622 or by email @ HHSTips@oig.hhs.gov. Also could you tell us what clinic this happened in so we can save other children from being treated like this. Thanks so much for your reporting.