Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kokomo dentist’s licensed revoked, but who cares, right? He’s still practicing dentistry.

December 9, 2011

Kokomo dentist’s license revoked
16 patients have filed multiple complaints against Dr. Joseph Beck

By KEN de la BASTIDE and Daniel Human Tribune staff writer The Kokomo Tribune Fri Dec 09, 2011, 10:39 PM EST

Kokomo — Although his dental license was revoked by the Indiana State Board of Dentistry, Dr. Joseph Beck continues to practice dentistry in Kokomo.

The dental board voted unanimously Dec. 2 to revoke Beck’s license, according to the Indiana Attorney General’s office. The board ordered Beck to pay costs and a $31,000 fine within 60 days of the order, which had not been issued as of Friday.

According to court records, 16 of Beck’s patients have alleged he billed for procedures not performed, had assistants performing dental procedures they were not trained for, failed to keep adequate records and did not keep up-to-date on professional theory.

Patients’ accounts date as far back as 2002.

Despite the ruling, the office of Beck Family Dentistry remains open.

Erin Reece, public information officer for the Indiana Attorney General’s office, said Beck has been put on notice that his license was revoked.

She said the license is not technically revoked until Beck receives the attorney general’s final order by certified mail. The final order will be mailed next week.

“He should not be practicing because he has been put on notice that his license has been revoked,” Reece said. “He is required to keep the office open for a period of time for the transfer of medical records.”

In the complaint filed by the Indiana Attorney General’s office with the state dental board, there were 43 counts in support of the request to revoke Beck’s license.

The complaint includes a Medicaid billing audit by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana.

“The audit revealed that respondent [Beck] would bill Medicaid for two separate claim forms for a stainless steel crown and osseous surgery, even though the date of treatment was the same,” the complaint read. “Osseous surgery is rarely performed in conjunction with the placement of a crown.”

The complaint stated Beck billed Medicaid for $223,113 for osseous surgery, a procedure conducted to reshape and restore bone and tissue.

The audit also revealed that Beck billed Medicaid for another $65,011 for alveoloplasties, which is a procedure done in preparation for dentures. But he didn’t document in patients’ charts that he performed the procedure, according to court records. Alveoloplasties are only billable to Medicaid with the removal of four or more teeth.

Reece said the state dental board cannot take action on the Medicaid billing, which were merely presented as evidence to revoke his license.

“Once the final order is issued,” she said, “the information will be shared with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for an investigation.”

Beck settled a medical malpractice claim in 2005 for $39,000, according to the complaint filed with the Dental Board. That patient went to Beck in 2005 for the extraction of several teeth in preparation for full upper and lower dentures.

The complaint states that during the procedure, Beck pushed bone into the patient’s sinus cavity and removed too much bone, which exposed the maxillary sinus. The patient suffered ongoing pain and continuous sinus infections, which required multiple hospitalizations and surgeries to correct the damage. The patient also had to undergo reconstructive surgery so that the dentures would fit.