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Friday, November 30, 2012

Aspen settles with former employee who was assaulted by her supervisor

tdnBy Tony Lystra / The Daily News

Columbia, Oregon

Aspen dental, former employee reach settlement on eve of trial

A Longview dental clinic has reached a settlement with a former employee who claimed that she had a mental breakdown after her supervisor assaulted her in the workplace.

The settlement, the terms of which were not disclosed, came on Monday, the day the case was scheduled for a civil jury trial in Cowlitz County Superior Court.

Crystal M. Manes, who had been working as a dental assistant in Aspen Dental’s Ocean Beach Highway branch, sued the company, saying her supervisor slapped her on the arm on April 21, 2010. Manes said she had come to work early that day and, at around 5 p.m., informed the supervisor, Jessica Scruggs, that she was leaving for the day. Scruggs became angry because there were still patients waiting to be seen and, with an open palm, struck Manes in the left arm declaring, “Well then, go home,” according to the suit.

Aspen Dental’s attorneys contended that Scruggs may have touched Manes only while gesturing and that the impact could not have been enough to cause an injury.

Manes, however, said a black and blue bruise appeared on her arm that evening. Manes also said that she was later prescribed Xanax for panic attacks, according to court documents. On May 8, 2010, Manes was admitted to St. John Medical Center after “the combination of panic attacks and a reaction to the Xanax medication caused (her) to have a mental breakdown,” according to Manes’ lawsuit.

Manes, who was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder resulting from the incident, sued Aspen Dental for medical expenses, lost wages and “general damages,” court documents said.

Manes’ attorney, David Nelson of Longview, declined to disclose the terms of the settlement. Aspen Dental’s attorney, Douglas Parker of the firm Littler Mendelson in Portland, did not return a phone call Wednesday.

Aspen Dental is a national chain of dental offices with 340 branches in 22 states, according to the company’s public relations department.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dr. Sang Hyuk Park arrested for more sexual assaults day before court appearance.

Dentist pleads not guilty in sex abuse case

By VICTOR A. PATTON - vpatton@mercedsunstar.com

mercedstarMERCED -- Merced dentist Sang Hyuk Park pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Merced County Superior Court to allegations that he sexually abused four women.

Dressed in a business suit, Park, 43, left the courtroom after the brief hearing, declining questions from reporters.

Merced police arrested Park, a Stockton resident, at his 3040 Park Ave. office Tuesday afternoon on five counts of sexual battery and one count of sexual penetration. He was released from jail after posting bail Tuesday evening.

Park

Sang Hyuk Park

    After Wednesday's hearing, Park's attorney Thomas Johnson said his client is a highly competent dentist who's innocent of the charges. Johnson questioned why his client was arrested on Tuesday, when he was already scheduled to appear in court today for his arraignment hearing.

    "Dr. Park is not guilty of the charges and the investigation has been unusual, at best," he said. "Everything the office of the district attorney is doing seems like a thinly veiled attempt to get him into custody prior to the case being heard."

    In response to Johnson's claim about the investigation, Chief Deputy District Attorney Rob Carroll said his office is very confident with the evidence police obtained.

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    Private Equity Firms warn Texas Dental Association to leave our “glory hole” alone

    TexasCoalition[4]AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Stressing the need for Texas dentists to work together to help public officials curb Medicaid fraud and expand access to affordable, high-quality dental care, dentists from throughout Texas recently sent a letter to the Texas Dental Association (TDA) concerning its recent testimony before the Texas House Public Health Committee.

    The letter, signed by more than 60 Texas dentists from across the state, takes issue with the October 15th testimony of Dr. Richard Black before the committee. Dr. Black, on behalf of TDA, made what the dentists characterized as "troubling" and "unsubstantiated statements" pertaining to Texas dentists' 30-year history of utilizing non-clinical administrative support services that enable them to spend more time with patients and less time on administrative tasks.

    "As one might expect," the letter says, "the committee members pressed Dr. Black for evidence that would substantiate his accusations. Rather than offer any, Dr. Black instead called for legislation that would impose additional regulations and restrict dentists' access to non-clinical administrative support services."

    Like the medical support services provided to physicians for decades, the letter explains, dental support services include facility maintenance, supply procurement, scheduling support, as well as accounting and marketing services: "Contracting for such non-clinical administrative services enables dentists like us to devote more time to the delivery of high-quality, cost-effective dental care to patients and spend less time on administrative duties. In addition, contracting with DSOs enables us to benefit from their economies of scale and bring state-of-the-art technology to our patients and communities, thereby improving patient access, safety, outcomes and convenience."

    Monday, November 26, 2012

    Gentle Dental in more hot water

    New Jersey State Comptroller Statement

    November 20, 2012 -- The New Jersey Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) is seeking recoveries from a dental practice that forged Medicaid reimbursement documents to conceal that its owner, who was no longer physically able to treat patients, had been replaced with a dentist who was debarred from the Medicaid program.

    Anicia Cruz-Sledge assumed control of the Gentle Dental Group in East Orange in 2007 after her husband, the owner and primary dentist for the practice, suffered a medical condition that left him incapacitated and no longer able to treat patients, according to a notice filed by the OSC's office.

    The investigation by OSC's Medicaid Fraud Division found that Gentle Dental submitted Medicaid reimbursement claims using the individual Medicaid provider number of her husband, Edward Sledge, DMD; signatures purporting to be from Dr. Sledge; and certification forms stating that Dr. Sledge had performed the medical services in question.

    However, those services were actually provided by Carl McGloster, DDS, a dentist hired by Cruz-Sledge to treat patients at the dental practice although he was debarred from participating in the Medicaid program. According to the OSC, Cruz-Sledge admitted to OSC investigators that she signed her husband's name on the reimbursement claim forms submitted to the state even though her husband did not treat the patients. OSC investigators also determined that Cruz-Sledge continued to order new prescription pads under her husband's name long after he became incapacitated.

    Read the entire story - http://www.drbicuspid.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=pmt&pag=dis&itemId=312051

    Former dentists, Gary Anusavice in a hole of no return? It’s looking like.

    NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) — North Kingstown officials say FBI agents will be joining local authorities in investigating a fire at a vacant million-dollar home whose last two owners were charged with fraud.

    The 8,100-square-foot house on Potter Road was gutted in Friday's fire. The cause isn't clear yet. One firefighter who responded was taken to a hospital with chest pains, but was later discharged.

    Fire Chief Fenwick Gardiner Jr. told The Providence Journal (http://bit.ly/Tm3mKw ) that FBI officials will be helping with the investigation. He didn't elaborate.

    The home's last owner was a company controlled by Gary Anusavice, a former dentist now awaiting trial in an alleged $20 million Medicaid fraud scheme. The owner before Anusavice was Antonio Giordano, who was sentenced to one year in prison in 2007 for embezzling from nursing homes.

    ___

    Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.providencejournal.com

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/FBI-to-join-probe-of-North-Kingstown-fire-4065070.php#ixzz2DMWPxnq7

    sfgate

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    Former employee of dentist arrested on bad checks charges speaks out

    http://wtkr.com/2012/11/21/former-employee-of-dentist-arrested-on-bad-checks-charges-speaks-out/

    Video included

    Dentist Derrick Broadaway is facing four felony bad checks charges.

    It is a direct result of Andrea Ross and another former employee taking action to press charges.

    channel3Ross came to NewsChannel 3 when thousands of dollars’ worth of paychecks from Broadaway’s dentistry kept bouncing after close to 17 years there.

    The dentistry’s former business manager says she quit when Broadaway wouldn’t make good on the checks.

    Friday, Broadaway turned himself in to Chesapeake police.

    Authorities released him on bond.

    NewsChannel 3 began investigating Broadaway for the bounced checks.

    Our investigation into Broadaway’s bad checks led us to his checkered history with the Board of Dentistry. 

    This summer, the board suspended him for 60 days and fined him 20,000 dollars. The decision was made partially because of questionable root canal work done on Rosemary Rogers.

    We have also learned that Broadaway is facing three medical malpractice lawsuits.

    Former patients claimed he left them “disfigured” and “permanently injured.”

    Related:

    Chesapeake dentist accused of giving out bad checks turns himself in to police

    Former patient of suspended Chesapeake dentist speaks out

    Employees take action against dentist accused of handing out bad checks

    Chesapeake dentist faces millions in medical malpractice lawsuits

    Chesapeake dentist blasted for bounced paychecks

    More glaring evidence the California Dental Board is useless

    cbs2

    http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/11/20/cbs2-investigation-patients-claim-oc-dentist-didnt-give-them-care-they-paid-for/

    NEWPORT BEACH (CBS2) – Several patients are accusing an Orange County dentist of charging them thousands of dollars for dental implants and subsequently never responding to their calls for help.

    CBS2 investigative reporter David Goldstein discovered those patients never knew the California Dental Board filed a complaint last year against Dr. Thomas Teich. He was also found negligent this May in a medical malpractice lawsuit where the patient died.

    That’s not all: Teich had served time in prison for mail fraud.

    The dentist refused to comment on the allegations and the dental board’s complaint.

    “Doctor, we’ve talked to a number of your patients who say they’ve been abandoned by you after paying you tens of thousands of dollars. How can you do that? How can you abandon these people?” Goldstein said.

    Several patients who went to Teich’s Newport Beach office said the experience was nothing to smile about.

    Sexual Assault at Kool Smiles–Lilburn, GA

    http://lilburn.patch.com/articles/lilburn-police-blotter-city-of-lilburn-nov-11-nov-17

    What’s Moodys got to say about Aspen Dental?

    http://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PR_204721

    "Aspen affiliates with its dentists through two models: the staffing model and the practice ownership program ("POP"). Under the staffing model (~55% of offices), dentists are at-will employees of affiliated PCs, where the PCs own the medical records, patient lists, and operating records. Under the POP model (~45% of offices), dentists purchase the medical records from the PC to essentially own their own practice. The company's audited financials do not consolidate the POP practices. Audited revenues for the twelve months ended December 31, 2009 approximated $260 million. The consolidated (unaudited) revenues for all Aspen branded dental offices, including POP offices, approximated $322 million over the same period."

    Note: Moodys reports approx 55% of Aspen Dental offices have dentists as employees ("staffing model"). Moodys reports approx 45% operate under the POP model, where dentists purchase the "medical records". Although these doctors "essentially own their own practice", they can't freely sell this practice, nor dismiss Aspen Dental as a DMO, as might a true owner. There exists a serious difference between "essential ownership", versus true & valid ownership.

    When Leonard Green purchased Aspen Dental they utilized GE Capital.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-06/aspen-dental-s-loan-for-leonard-green-dividend-rises-in-trading.html

    The same GE Capital which runs CareCredit, which operates the consumer 3rd party payment system for Aspen Dental. This seems like a pretty tight relationship, & something which may merit further investigation?

    From Aspen Dental corporate marketing on POP:

    http://www.aspendental.com/news/2009/09/17/aspen’s-practice-ownership-program-pop-has-dr-timothy-owczarzak-in-a-“perfect-situation”/

    An Aspen Dental President & "owner" of 2 Aspen Dental clinics, Dr Owczarak comments, "...Owning your own practice is a totally different animal. When you’re in private practice it seems like it’s 20% dentistry and 80% business. I simply became tired of it.”.

    He later goes on to say about his POP position w/ Aspen Dental, "This has been a winning situation all the way around. I own a practice...". In reality, he doesn't own a practice.  Dr Owczarak may own a practice under the definition of ownership of Aspen Dental, but not true & valid ownership, under the legal definition of ownership. This misrepresentation proffered to dentists in this Aspen Dental marketing effort isn't very subtle nor sophisticated.

    Friday, November 16, 2012

    How cocky are Medicaid dental mill dentists feeling these days? Robin Lockwood of Ocean Dental–Stillwater, OK fought the law, and the law won.

    lockwood

    ATTN: All Corporate Dentists

    She had all the goods to be successful in life. Lockwood is a dentist; once was a promising inventor, she actually has a brother in Arkansas who is a minister. But she is STUPID!

    This woman, decided it was better to abuse children, tie them up in papoose boards, do unnecessary dental procedures with little to no anesthesia and steal every penny should could from each taxpayer in America, instead of caring for her family and being the medical professional her parents sacrificed for her to become.


    She chose to commit Medicaid fraud for her employer - Chad Brandon Hoecker, DDS. She chose abusing children, strapping them to papoose boards, over-treating and much worse to help her boss fuel his jet and live “high on the hog” as they say.

    She also chose Federal prison. Robin Lockwood is going to be spending 18 very long months in Federal prison, plus pay $375,000 in restitution. Why? Because she bought into the corporate dental scam that has infected damn near every state. 

    This was a plea deal, so imagine the goods they have on this woman!

    Even the most hardened criminals have trouble stomaching those who abuse children. Pretty as she is, and ripe for the picking, I’m betting her cellmates are not going to like what she’s done to low income children. Many of whom may belong to her new cellmates. 

    November 15, 2012

    OKLAHOMA oceandentallogoCITY—Robin R. Lockwood, 44, a dentist from Oklahoma City, was sentenced last week to serve 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to committing health care fraud, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. In addition, Lockwood was ordered to pay $375,672.27 in restitution to Medicaid.

    Lockwood is a dentist licensed to practice in the state of Oklahoma and was employed under contract by Ocean Dental at offices located at 1610 Southwest 74th Avenue in  Oklahoma City. Ocean Dental’s dentists provided dental care to Medicaid-eligible children. The Medicaid Program is a cooperative program that provides federal and state funds to pay for health care benefits for individuals with insufficient incomes to meet the costs of necessary medical expenses. In Oklahoma, Medicaid is administered as “SoonerCare” by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA), a state governmental agency. Ocean Dental submitted claims to the OHCA for reimbursement of dentists’ services based on patient treatment notes created by the dentists. Ocean Dental paid Lockwood a percentage of the funds that OHCA reimbursed to Ocean Dental for services she personally rendered.

    The information alleged that from July 1, 2007 through December 31, 2010, Lockwood engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicaid by submitting claims for dental services that she did not provide. Specifically, Lockwood recorded in the patient’s treatment notes that she had placed dental restorations on certain teeth when, in fact, she had not treated the teeth at all. On other teeth, Lockwood recorded that she had placed dental restorations on more surfaces of the tooth than she had, in fact, restored or recorded that she had placed a dental restoration on the tooth when, in fact, she had placed on the tooth a type of treatment that is non-reimbursable by Medicaid. Lockwood used the proceeds of the fraud for her own personal benefit.

    Lockwood pled guilty on July 11, 2012.

    This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, and the State of Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Maxfield Green.

    Related:

    Robin Lockwood, DDS

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    Derrick Broadaway, DDS–Millions in Medicaid Fraud

    news8Chesapeake, Va. (WTKR) – After NewsChannel revealed former employees of Chesapeake dentist Derrick Broadaway are upset over bounced paychecks, investigator Jessica Larche uncovered millions in medical malpractice lawsuits against him.

    One former patient claimed he “left a drill inside a tooth while performing a root canal” and did not tell the patient. Another said she has been “disfigured” and is “permanently injured” by dental implants Broadaway installed.

    Meanwhile, Broadaway is on the heels of a $20,000 fine from the Virginia Board of Dentistry and a 60 day suspension of his license that ended in August. The sanctions, according to public records are for Broadaway’s questionable dental work. In August, his paychecks to employees kept bouncing. NewsChannel 3 confronted him about it Monday.

    Chesapeake dentist blasted for bounced paychecks

    “Why doesn’t he feel the need to pay me?” asked former employee Andrea Ross, who said Broadaway owes her $3,800.

    According to the Board of dentistry’s records, Broadaway has had problems dating back to 1998. Over the years, the board found that Broadaway performed “incomplete extractions of teeth.” Records say he “drilled too deep into a tooth” causing the patient to have a root canal. Documents also say Broadaway billed a patient’s dental insurance for work he never did.

    However, the board is allowing him to stay in business under a stayed indefinite suspension, as long as he meets certain guidelines.

    Broadaway has met several of the stipulations that could lead the board to revoke his license, but they have not.

    All of Broadaway’s malpractice lawsuits go to trial next year.

    Broadaway Board of Dentistry Document

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    Are disciplinary actions against DMSOs on the rise?

    Are disciplinary actions against DMSOs on the rise?

    dbclogoBy Michael W. Davis, DDS , DrBicuspid.com contributing writer

    November 13, 2012 -- More than 30% of disciplinary actions discharged by the New Mexico Board of Dental Health between June 27, 2011, and August 7, 2012 involved dental professionals affiliated with dental management service organizations (DMSOs).

    According to the state regulatory board's website, 24 different entities were sanctioned during this time period. One violator, which accumulated five different sanctions, was recorded as a single violator. No other violator generated more than a single dental board sanction.

    Violators were divided into four categories:

    • Nonprofit (public health clinic, Veterans Affairs clinics, native tribal clinic, teaching facility, etc.)
    • Solo private practice
    • Small group practice (three doctors or fewer)
    • Interstate DMSO

    Each violating entity was assigned a lettered designation, although the identity is public record information. DMSOs were likewise assigned a lettered designation. Tracking down the employment association at the time of violation was sometimes available within the dental board's formal complaint. However, often an Internet search was required.

    Violations ran the gamut from alcohol and chemical abuse to advertising violations and breaches in standard of care, and everything in between. No attempt was made to correlate the type of violation to the employment association of the offender.

    Interestingly, there were no disciplinary actions discharged against nonprofit entities or their dentists, during this time frame. The largest group generating disciplinary actions was assigned to solo private practicing dentists (54.2%). However, according to the ADA's 2010 Survey of Dental Practice-Employment of Dental Practice Personnel, solo practitioners comprised 69.6% of all dentists employed in private practice for 2009.

    The statistic of concern is the 33.3% of disciplinary actions involving employment association with interstate DMSOs. According to the 2008 Health Policy Resources Center, only 3% of dentists are associated with very large group practices (20 or more dentists; ADA News, April 9, 2012). This represents a statistical order of magnitude of one, or approximately 10 times.

    This finding was confirmed by Lili Reitz, executive director of the Ohio State Dental Board, who reported for a "Frontline"interview that in 2011 25% of complaints filed with the dental board (140 complaints in all) were against dentists at corporate chains.

    The data in this report may be of interest to state regulatory dental boards, state and federal regulators of dental Medicaid, overseers of fraud and abuse for private insurance carriers, and state and federal prosecutors. But the findings of this report should also prompt concern for the general public and dental consumers in particular.

     

     

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    MDchart2

    Friday, November 09, 2012

    Mom’s complaining Kool Smiles are still up to their same old tricks–Papoose Boards and False Cavities

    babycenter

    Posted November 6, 2012

    -- MOM # 1  Ok so I made an appointment for my 3 yo at Kool Smiles for a cleaning a couple weeks ago I wanted to get it done before the new baby came so it would be one less thing I had to do.

    Anyways my DH went back with my 3 yo because they were doing Xrays. I called my mother while I was waiting she said I meant to tell you not to take him to Kool Smiles.

    She took my brother who was only 6 years old to the same Kool Smiles and they said he had 3 cavities...so she took him somewhere else and he had none!

    Kool smiles was going to strap my 6 year old brother down to fill cavities that he didn't have... I thought wow that's crazy no one could possibly do that. I wouldn't be able to live with myself knowing I put a child though all that pain for no reason but to get some money.

    Then I thought maybe it will not be that way cause we do not have Medicaid we pay for insurance.  After they were done my DH informs me we need to make him another appointment to get work done. They said he had 3 cavities!!! (the same number they said my brother had)

    They said my 3 year old had 3 cavities. I was soo upset I cried. I felt like the worst mom in the world! I'm 26 years old and only ever had one cavity and my little boy already had 3. He brushes his teeth and I brush behind him and he doesn't eat a lot of sweets.

    I didn't make him another appointment. We just left. I'm taking him somewhere else. Has anyone had any problems like this? How do they get away with this sort of thing. It's terrible

    --MOM # 2 Yes, it has happened to me. I had a gut feeling I didn't have a cavity (bc I never do) and I just didn't trust the guy. Went for a second opinion and I was right! Drs prob think that they "need" the $ and ins us paying for it anyways.

    -- MOM # 3 -Be careful they will keep calling you!!! I took my son last year for his first appt and hated it, I told them I would schedule his next one when I looked at my calendar (lie, I was trying to be nice).

    For the last 6 months they call from 3 or 4 diff numbers as early as 7 am and as late as 8pm. I even told them they had the wrong number and they keep on. Told them to stop calling and they still keep on! Hate them!

    --MOM # 1 So funny you said that cause they actually called me today to confirm an appointment that they set for my son without me or my husbands permission. I will never bring my children there again the is actually a pediatrician in my area that has a sign posted saying not to bring your children to Kool Smiles.

    Thursday, November 08, 2012

    More legal troubles for Dr. Stephen M. Stein, but still no criminal charges or personal injury cases. Why?

    courthouse newsDENVER (CN) - A dentist's history of "getting high before performing surgeries" and reusing needles ruined his partner's dental practice, the partner claims in court.
         Neil G. Dobro, D.M.D., sued Stephen M. Stein, D.D.S., in Denver County Court.
         Dobro claims Stein concealed his troubled history to persuade Dobra to form the New Image Dental Implant Center with him.
         Eventually, Dobro says, he uncovered disturbing allegations about his partner, including that the Colorado Dental Board had recently "voted to summarily suspend Dr. Stein's license to practice dentistry."
         "Among other things, Mr. Stein had been stealing medications from patients and Dr. Dobro realized that Mr. Stein would eventually face criminal charges," the complaint states. "With this inevitable and damaging public disclosure on the horizon, Dr. Dobro proposed a means by which Mr. Stein could smoothly exit the practice of dentistry-Dr. Dobro would buy all of Mr. Stein's dental practice assets (equipment, supplies, etc.), together with Mr. Stein's putative membership interest in New Image."
         Dobro says he prepared an asset purchase agreement for this, in November 2011.

     

    Why aren’t corporate executives arrested for practicing dentistry without a license?

    If people can be arrested for practicing dentistry without a license as they were in Houston recently,then pray tell why can’t these folks:

    Jeff Lane  - NCDR dba Kool Smiles

    Douglas W. Brown – Affordable Dentures

    Michael Dell – DentalOne Partners

    James Ferrell – ImmediaDent

    David R. Wilson – CSHM dba Small Smiles

    Stephen Thorne – Pacific Dental

    Robert (Bob) Fontana – Aspen Dental

    Greg Serrao – JLL Partners – American Dental Partners

    James W. Leech – Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP) – Heartland Dental (if sale is completed)

    Is it because the private equity owners hide behind 3-4 shell corporations and layers of regional managers? You bet it is.

    For instance, Jeff Lane of FFL Partners has his office in Atlanta in the same building as National Children’s Dental Research (NCDR) - Kool Smiles. In fact Lane’s office and Dale Mayfield’s office are adjacent to one another. Mayfield is NCDR-Kool Smiles Chief Dental Officer.

    Why does the private equity firm, who is supposedly “acting like a bank” – according to Kool Smiles regional manager Dr. Diane Earle – need one of their partners inside NCDR-Kool Smiles headquarters in Atlanta, basically sleeping with Dale Mayfield. Heck they have to walk by each other’s office to get to the bathroom!

    According to Kool Smiles Holding Corporation Form D at the SEC the executives and directors of Kool Smiles are mostly FFL Partners executives. They are as follows:

    Tully M. Friedman  - Director
    David L. Lowe  -  Executive Officer and Director
    Aaron S. Money – Executive Officer and Director
    Doug Brown – Director
    William R. Brody, MD – Director
    Paul Walker, DDS – Director
    Kevin Miller – Director
    Thomas S. Nance – Executive Officer, Director and Promoter
    Brian Bouma – Director
    Joseph Mello – Director

    Fake Dentists arrested in Houston, Texas

    KHOUlogoby Jeff McShan / KHOU 11 News
    khou.com
    Posted on November 2, 2012 at 10:51 PM
    Updated Friday, Nov 2 at 11:00 PM

     

    HOUSTON—Armed with tips and a undercover camera, the Houston Police Department’s Major Offenders Division has been investigating and arresting people suspected of impersonating dentists.

    During one undercover investigation detectives met Gilberto Ulloa. HPD captured Ulloa on video giving an examination and investigators said he offered to pull teeth and replace them for $1,500. He was arrested minutes later.

    Outside in his driveway police boxed up the evidence that included dozen of dental tools that appeared to be un-sanitized.

    In the last several weeks KHOU 11 News tagged along with investigators targeting nearly a dozen suspects. All of them were charged with practicing medicine without a license.

    One of them was Julio Contento. Inside his apartment police said they found an entire dental office set up in the living room. He had dozens of tools, an air compressor and unfinished molds for patients he was allegedly treating.

    In these tough times, many people with no health insurance can’t find affordable dental care and that’s why this phony dentistry is on the rise.

    In Harris County low-cost service is available, but you must apply for it first through the county. We learned, after you apply, quick appointments are hard to come by. Many uninsured people who are in extreme pain end up going to hospital emergency rooms only to find out there are no dentists there.

    The need for care is so great that some people waited in line all night recently to receive free dental care in Pasadena. The event was called Dentistry From the Heart.
    By dawn, nearly 200 people registered hoping to be seen by one of just five dentists and their staff who volunteered their time.

    “When my husband died I lost everything and I had to start over. I had no idea how difficult it was to get health insurance,” Trish Perry said.  Perry had come to the free event seeking help with her teeth.

    Her story was just one of many we heard from all kinds of people who’ve fallen on hard times.

    A large tent was the waiting room where the old and young were evaluated.

    “A lot of people said I’ve waited to get this fixed for two years,” said Dr. Kimber Homes.

    Homes is a hero among the villains who prey on people in need.

    “Oh sweet girl, that’s an infection on your gum around a crowded tooth,” Homes told one patient.

    After each exam was done under the tent the patients were sent inside to see the other dentists. There was also an oral surgeon on hand. One patient had his wisdom teeth taken out, but events like this are very rare.

    That’s why the black market dental trade is thriving here feeding on the demand for care.

    Tuesday, November 06, 2012

    WFTV’s 9 Investigates - Undercover investigation of Aspen Dental scam in Lake County = Aspen Dental Fail

     

    WFTV Website

    wftv9

    Monday November 6, 2012
    LAKE COUNTY, Fla. —

    A Lake County woman claims a major dental chain wanted to collect a few thousand dollars for some treatments she didn't need.

    Action 9's Todd Ulrich found many other consumers have claimed the company's offer for a free exam can really end up costing them.

    Cheryl Gifford had a cracked tooth and expected to pay something at the Aspen Dental clinic in Mt. Dora.

    Gifford said she was blown away when the dentist handed her a $3,700 treatment plan to fix her tooth and treat gum disease. She claims the clinic wanted to get her signed up that day.

    "And then it was like, 'You really need to get this done now,'" Gifford said.

    Gifford said she questioned all the periodontal work since she routinely had her teeth cleaned. After insurance, she would have owed $1,800 and told the clinic she couldn't afford it.

    According to Gifford, the clinic said it could all be financed.

    "They had a finance program they could put me into and I could get signed up right now," she said.

     

    Ontario Teachers Union Pension Plan “takes control” of Heartland Dental–Anyone Thrilled?

    Wasn’t it this same union who invested heavily in some dental clinics in NY a few months ago? No, it was Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (OMERS )and GEDC Super Holdings Inc., who bought 170 Great Expressions dental clinics.

    WOW, that’s two Canadian pension plans who are invested in American’s dental care to the tune of 545 dental clinics!! Is anyone concerned about this at all? Buehler?

    I don’t see the words: sell, sold, bought, but rather “take control” in the Heartland take over. I’m told it is all about Heartland’s ESOP plan.

    November 6, 2012

    Reuters – Ontario Teachers Acquires Control of Heartland Dental

    Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has agreed to take control of Heartland Dental Care Inc in a deal that values the US dental practice management firm at about $1.3 billion, writes Reuters. Ontario Teachers is buying a majority stake in Heartland, while founder and chief executive Rick Workman will retain a minority stake along with management and employees.

    Reuters – Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan said on Monday it has agreed to take control of Heartland Dental Care Inc in a deal that values the U.S. dental practice management firm at about $1.3 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    Friday, November 02, 2012

    Sharon O'Steen, Florida Dentist, Allegedly Used Laughing Gas In Front Of Patients

    By VICTOR A. PATTON - vpatton@mercedsun-star.com

    Sharon O'Steen, Florida Dentist, Allegedly Used Laughing Gas In Front Of Patients 

    The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: Updated: 11/05/2012 8:10 am EST
    Going to the dentist ranks among Americans's greatest fears, and many swear by nitrous oxide -- you know, laughing gas -- to get through the procedures. Now imagine if the tables turned.

    That's right. Dentist Sharon O'Steen of DeBary, Florida, has been accused of inhaling laughing gas in front of patients before performing procedures on them. In a no-brainer move, Florida health officials have suspended O'Steen's license.

    Dental malpractice is considered highly difficult to prove, though patients have been awarded millions of dollars in dental malpractice suits in the past.

    Take Aspen Dental, a large corporate-dental chain in Denver that was sued a few weeks ago for allegedly overcharging patients, performing unnecessary treatments and forcing patients who could not afford dental treatments into debt.

    Another story of dental malpractice shocked Floridians in 2010, when Tampa dentist Ralph Eichstaedt allegedly left a drill bit embedded in a patient's jaw. After months of nosebleeds and sinus infections, the patient finally discovered the bit.

    California Dental Board failed to keep creep away from patients

    By VICTOR A. PATTON - vpatton@mercedsun-star.com

    A Merced dentist was arrested on Tuesday by police, accused of sexually assaulting a patient under sedation.

    Sang Hyuk Park, 43, was taken into custody around 10 a.m. after the patient contacted Merced police, reporting an alleged incident of assault by Park that happened while receiving dental work. The victim reported being in and out of consciousness, and awakening with his or her pants down and Park exposing himself, according to Lt. Tom Trindad.

    Police haven't released the gender or age of the victim.

    The alleged victim reported the incident on Oct. 23 and police arrested Park after serving a search warrant Tuesday at his 3040 Park Ave., Suite H office. While serving the warrant, police seized a photograph from Park's office that "helped out" with their investigation, Trindad said, although he wouldn’t elaborate further about the evidence.

    Park was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of felony sexual battery involving a restrained person and misdemeanor sexual battery. He was released after posting bail, police said.

    No one was at Park's office on Wednesday. A sign posted on the front door said the office is closed until Thursday. Efforts to reach Park for comment were unsuccessful.

    According to records from the state's Department of Consumer Affairs, the state had considered revoking Park's license in May 2009 after a variety of alleged violations surfaced against him, including unprofessional conduct, like subjecting patients to procedures they didn't need -- and even extracting teeth when it wasn't necessary.

    Rather than revoke Park's license, however, the state placed Park on probation for a period of three years. According to state documents, Park had previously garnered the nickname "Speedy Gonzales" when working for Hatch Dental between January and April 2001, because he could perform more dental procedures on more patients in a shorter amount of time than his fellow dentists.

    According to the state documents, Park was also accused of insurance fraud, and "charting, documenting, billing and submitting claims for and/accepting payment for dental work that was in excess of what could reasonably be accomplished by a competent dentist" during his time at Hatch Dental.

    Police are asking anyone who believes they may have been a victim, or has information about the case to call Detective Raquel Rios at (209) 388-7766. Residents can text a tip to TIP411 (847411) using "comvip" as the first word in the message. Tips are kept confidential, and those providing tips can remain anonymous.

    City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com.