Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nothing Has Changed, Dentist Still Keeping Children and Parents Separated at Small Smiles

All the 'settlements' in the world are not going to change a thing FORBA owned Small Smiles Dental clinics. Don't go there, don't work there, don't drive in front of the place, don't say it's name,..I can't be more clear.

Nothing has changed, whether this took place yesterday or last June.  FORBA has known it was in trouble for two years, it's made statement after statement that they are continuing with their quality care for the underserved and they certainly are doing just that.  I don't know why we don't believe them.  They ARE continuing with the same kind of care they have given to children since the very beginning!  LISTEN TO THEM!!

Here is another parent who was separated from her child, told the child had several cavities, saw another dentist who told her they child needed none.  FORBA spokesman says on review of the child's file, the work indeed need to be done and they are 'clarifying' letting parent come back with their children.  What the hell is there to clarify, it's either a yes or a no!  No gray area that I can see.  Anyway, here's the latest story:

This one involves Pennsylvania Dentists Dr. Mark (too many sanctions) Toncini and Dr. Michelle (I'll lie to you in a minute) Hershberger. 

Read it here.


You can download and read all the documents about Dr. Mark Toncini here


Team 4 Investigates Small Smiles Dental Clinic

Paul Van Osdol Reports

POSTED: 6:07 pm EST March 11, 2010
UPDATED: 10:07 am EST March 12, 2010


Imagine being told your young child has seven cavities -- but when you get a second opinion, you find out he really has none.
Team 4 investigative reporter Paul Van Osdol digs into some questionable practices. The following is a transcript of his report that first aired March 11, 2010, on WTAE Channel 4 Action News at 5 p.m.

The Pittsburgh clinic where this allegedly occurred is called Small Smiles -- part of a national chain that specializes in treating children on Medicaid.
The Tennessee company that manages the clinic and almost 70 others across the country recently paid a multi-million dollar settlement after being accused of billing taxpayers for unnecessary procedures -- even root canals -- on children.Talisha Taylor got a surprise when she took her 6-year-old son, Royce, to the Small Smiles Dental Clinic in East Liberty last June.

She was told that he had seven cavities that should be filled, but she could not be in the room with Royce when he was getting his fillings.Talisha Taylor: "I was just thinking, 'Why wouldn't you want me to go in the back with my 6-year-old son?' He's not a grown man. He's 6."Washington, D.C. -- This is video inside a different Small Smiles clinic -- a 4-year-old boy being restrained. Taylor found videos like this one online and immediately got a second opinion about Royce from another dentist.The new dentist told her he did not have seven cavities. In fact, he didn't have any that needed to be filled.Van osdol: "And what was your reaction to that?"Taylor: "Crazy. I could not believe. I was completely livid."Dr. Brian Martin is the chief dentist at Children's Hospital.Martin: "That is a significant discrepancy."Team 4 tried to talk to Dr. Michelle Hershberger, because records show she's the Small Smiles dentist who evaluated Royce. But she did not return our calls, and a spokesman for Forba Holdings -- the company that manages Small Smiles -- said he would speak for her.

The Forba spokesman said, "Our review indicates that the treatment recommended was appropriate, given Royce's level of evident tooth decay."Forba also said it "clarified" its policy, so now parents are allowed to stay with children during procedures.In January, Forba agreed to pay a $24 million settlement after the Justice Department accused the company of billing various state Medicaid programs for "medically unnecessary dental services," including fillings, crowns and baby root canals.Tony West, Assistant Attorney General: "We have zero tolerance for those who break the law to exploit children in need."He was speaking in Washington, but Team 4 wanted to dig deeper into the clinic itself in East Liberty.

The lead dentist here at Small Smiles is Dr. Mark Toncini. Team 4 has learned his license has been fined or suspended multiple times by the state dental board. In fact, he got off probation only four months before Small Smiles of East Liberty was incorporated and Toncini was listed as a corporate officer.At various times from 2002 to 2007, Toncini was penalized for writing prescriptions with "no documentation" that they were needed, failing to provide patients copies of their records and practicing dentistry without a license.

Van Osdol: "Dr. Toncini? Paul Van Osdol from Channel 4."  Team 4 tried to ask Toncini about Small Smiles and his disciplinary history.

Van Osdol: "Should patients be concerned because you were under suspension?:Toncini: "Let me get you a phone number."

But when Toncini returned, he did not have a phone number. In fact, he wasn't talking at all to us.Talisha Taylor says she's happy she never went back to Small Smiles.

Taylor: "I feel like we just missed a bus."She says she has filed a complaint against Small Smiles with the state dental board.

A spokesman for Forba -- which manages Small Smiles -- tells me the clinics meet the highest ethical and quality standards.As for restraints, Forba says they are used rarely and in compliance with national pediatric dentistry guidelines.Team 4 doesn't have any specific information that links Dr. Toncini to the government allegations against Forba.

One thing we know for certain, they still have the same dentist working in the Pittsburgh clinic.  If all of this was caused by rogue dentists, wouldn't they be gone already?  I hope Dr. Toncini and Dr. Hershberger aren't fools enough to think FORBA will protect them, that is not going to happen.  Was that a slapt I just heard of a bus running over something.

3 Must Read Comments:

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that FORBA is it's own worst enemy. They are so far consumed with their own greed that they don't even know right from wrong anymore. Let's just hope they bury themselves even deeper without involving alot more innocent kids.

Dan said...

Imagine being told that your father has a ruptured gaulblater. Then a 2nd dr tells you that your father has nothing wrong with his gaulblater. Two weeks later dad is in ICU bc of his gaulblater! A 2nd opinion is not always the correct opinion!!! Our family wanted to believe the dr that said there was nothing wrong. PS I had a dentist give me a large filling about 5 years ago , he said a crown would be better, but he could do the filling to save me money. I just saw a dentist bc of pain on filling, he tells me I now need a crown the tooth. He says I should of got a crown in the first place! Dam! Cheap is not always best!!!

Me said...

Dan, not a clue, not a clue. You've missed the entire point of this whole site. Did you stop and check out the very first post on this entire site? Apparently not.