Saturday, April 27, 2013

Reports of Heartland Dental letter writing campaign opposing DSO regulation

Texas legislators are attempting to regulate the operation of Dental Service Organizations (DSO’s), currently operating secretly in the state.  At the very least lawmakers want them to register as doing business in their state. 

At public hearings in March 2012 lawmakers were shocked to hear members of the TSBDE say they didn’t have a clue how many dental clinics were operating in the state. The TSBDE also admitted they were oblivious as to who owned any dental clinics in Texas.  That’s right, the same clinics where licensed (or not) dentists perform medical procedures on Texas citizens, the TSBDE didn’t know who owned any of them – be it an actual dentist, a group greedy investors or a teacher’s union in Canada, i.e. Heartland.  Further, no one seemed to care until it was pointed out the hundreds of millions of dollars being stolen from the Medicaid program. 

HB 151 attempts to change that, but HB 151 hasn’t moved since February 21, 2013 – has rigor mortis set in?

During at least 2 hearings since last March – the last earlier this month - the DSO’s have sent stooges to testify.  Under oath, they have declared there is nothing shady going on.  The most laughable happened last Fall, when Diane Earle of NCDR/Kool Smiles was nearly laughed out of the chamber. Ok, few actually laughed out loud, but she did receive a “bless her heart” type dismissal.  NCDR/Kool Smiles Dental is owned by FFL Partners in San Francisco. see video.

In an attempt to keep the bones buried, NCDR/Kool Smiles seldom misses the opportunity to remind employees (past and present) of confidentiality agreements they signed when they began their employment with the company.  i.e. letters of intimidation and threats of lawsuits.

The DSO’s are fighting back. They don’t want any government agency to know they are doing business in any state, let alone the degree of shadiness.

Wonder why that is, exactly? I’ll tell you why, because they know they are operating multi-million dollar illegal businesses. When you have nothing to hide, you hide nothing, right?

The latest report of DSO’s fighting back is Heartland Dental “requesting” their dentist send letters to lawmakers opposing any regulations requiring DSO’s to register with any government body.  So lawmakers – in any state or in Washington - if you are suddenly receiving letters from dentists opposing DSO registration, take their name and address, they work for one!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Aspen Dental Marion, IL - Oops!

The latest rumor out of Aspen is a dentist at their clinic in Marion, IL pulled all of a patients bottom teeth, when patient was scheduled to have upper teeth pulled. Oops! This supposedly happen April 9, 2013. Dentist instructed office staff to forge and fake some documents saying he found they all needed pulling after he started. The patient was under conscious sedation and wouldn't remember clearly. Lets see if his gamble pays off.

Children at risk of disease after needle sharing with dentist who committed suicide?

Anyone realizing the “patients” are little children?  Anyone realizing the intravenous sedated patients are at risk because the needle was probably in the dentist’s arm then in child’s?  Or are people realizing it, just not saying it?  Anyone asking why this has been known for so long and patients are just now being alerted?  Someone besides me should be asking.  I’m getting tired of being the only one asking the hard questions! I’ve been asking for well over 5 years!!



abcABC News(NEW YORK) -- The Arkansas Department of Health announced this week that it would contact the 100 patients of the late Dr. William Jarrod Stewart as they may have been exposed to "infectious material," but the state dentistry board says it's not clear the dentist did anything wrong.

Patients were treated with the intravenous painkiller meperidine -- known as Demoral -- between Nov. 20, 2011 and Feb. 20, 2012.  Stewart committed suicide on Feb. 29, 2012 at age 40 shortly after he lost his job, according to his father.
"Anybody around him would tell you he was a great dentist," Stewart's father, Larry, told ABC News.  "He just had a problem with drugs. That's mainly what caused all this."
Stewart had issues with substance abuse in the 1990s when he was living and practicing dentistry in Louisiana, and he eventually surrendered his dentistry license there, said Arkansas Board of Dentistry attorney Bill Trice. 
After completing a rehabilitation program in 2000, Stewart asked for a dentistry license in Arkansas.  It was granted on the condition that he complete a five-year program with daily drug testing.
Stewart was drug-free for the full five years, but he relapsed and had to complete the five-year program again, Trice said.  In 2010, Stewart completed the program a second time.  For the next two years, the dentistry board didn't hear about any problems.
Ocean Dental, which owned several clinics where Stewart worked, asked Stewart to take a drug test on Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, after he appeared to be impaired during Sunday communications with Ocean Dental employees.  He was told he would be fired immediately if he refused, but he refused anyway, according to a statement from Ocean Dental.
The dental board did not know why Stewart was fired, Trice said.
Then, Stewart committed suicide by overdosing on drugs on Feb. 29, 2012, according to Pulaski County Coroner Gerone Hobbs.
Six months later, in August, the Drug Enforcement Agency got a complaint from a former employee of the dental clinic where Stewart worked, prompting the agency to visit the clinic, Trice said.  Investigators found evidence that two vials were tampered with, but they didn't find evidence of any disease.
Trice, who has been a prosecutor on behalf of the dentistry board since the early 1980s, said he's not convinced Stewart contaminated any drugs.
"They've got all these isolated facts out there, but I'm not sure the dots connect," Trice said.
DEA spokesman William Bryant said two separate sources called to say the single doses of these drugs were compromised.  The second call came in as late as last week, he said.
Stewart's former patients were advised to seek tests for blood borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis b, but Larry Stewart said his son was tested and the results were negative.  Given the length of time between the death and the announcement, he said he felt his son's name was "truly smeared."
"We feel like we've been violated," Larry Stewart said.  "These things would have already come to light if there had been any diseases, yet they took it upon themselves to put it out to the public nationwide 13 months after the fact."
The Arkansas Department of Health was notified eight days ago, but it needed the time to determine how best to inform patients and convey the low level of risk, according to state epidemiologist Dr. Dirk Haselow.
"We definitely believe that people needed to be notified," Haselow said.  "No one else in those facilities had sedation privileges, therefore no one else had access to those medications."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Arkansas Dental Patients Possibly Exposed To Infectious Materials By Doctor William Jarrod Stewart

huffThe Arkansas Department of Health warns that approximately 100 patients who visited Dr. William Jarrod Stewart for dental treatments during a three-month period may have been exposed to "infectious materials," and it advises these patients to get blood tests.

According to a release on the department's website, Stewart worked at six different Ocean Dental locations in the state from Nov. 20, 2011, to Feb. 20, 2012. It is suspected that some of the drugs Stewart administered intravenously to patients may have been contaminated. Patients who received medicine orally are not thought to be at risk at this time.

ABC News notes that Dr. Stewart, who reportedly had a history of substance abuse, died just nine days after the three-month period that health officials are concerned about. In a statement obtained by ABC, Ocean Clinics said the following about the scare:

Although Ocean Dental is not aware of any information indicating that Dr. Stewart had any infectious disease, and no reports have been received about any of these patients contracting any infectious disease, the Arkansas Department of Health is recommending that these patients be tested as a precaution.

The cause of Stewart's death has not yet been revealed, but a health department official told the Associated Press that it was not from an infectious disease.

"We have no reason to believe that anyone is at risk of a particular illness," state epidemiologist Dirk Haselow told the AP. "We are just notifying people because this situation is highly unusual and we don't know what we don't know."

The AP also reports that authorities discovered after Stewart's death that medicine under his license had been tampered with. Patients who saw Dr. Stewart will be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV and syphilis as a precaution.

Though the spread of disease in dental offices is considered rare, the news of Stewart follows a highly publicized case that surfaced just a few weeks ago in Oklahoma, where a dentist may have exposed as many as 7,000 patients to HIV and hepatitis by not using properly sterilized tools.

Last summer, a dentist in Colorado was found to have been reusing needles on different patients.

Worried about your next visit to the dentist? CNN offers a guide for patients who want to protect their health and check up on their dentists' office sanitation habits.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Dr. Michael Goodwin gets 50 months in prison

CP orthodontist gets 50 months in Medicaid fraud scheme

An Amarillo orthodontist has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for health care fraud.

Dr. Michael David Goodwin was sentenced Tuesday to 50 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $1.8 million in restitution.

The 63-year-old Goodwin pleaded guilty in December 2012 to one count of health care fraud related to the Texas Medicaid program.

Court documents show that Goodwin devised a scheme to defraud the Texas Medicaid program by billing the program for more than $2.6 million for services which he claimed to provide, but were either not medically necessary, or were provided by dental assistants.

Ocean Dental–Stillwater, Oklahoma - Dentist Dies After Possibly Exposing Patients–Dr. William Jarrod Stewart

Well, this story is finally getting some media attention.  However, the story being told is not necessarily they story I’ve heard.  Dr. Stewart committed suicide last February, the day after being fired by Ocean Dental.  He may have been fired, but Ocean knew full well of his problems. I’m hearing Ocean has been wiping hard drives and shredding documents trying to cover up how much they know and how long they knew it.  At issue, as I’m told, is Dr. Stewart’s heavy drug use that was commonly known by Ocean Dental and co-workers.  He did most of the sedations for Ocean Dental, however, the patients might not have been getting the drugs…know what I mean? 

I also am told the DEA has been on this case for some well over a year!

Dentist Dies After Possibly Exposing Patients

Posted on: 12:22 pm, April 9, 2013, by Larry Henry and Shain Bergan, updated on: 03:58pm, April 9, 2013

5newsArkansas health officials are recommending that patients of an Arkansas dentist who died last year, including some patients of the Ocean Dental clinic in Fayetteville, undergo free state blood tests for possible contamination by an “infectious material.”

In a news release on Tuesday (April 9), the Arkansas Department of Health said it is contacting about 100 patients from ages 14 to 22 treated by Dr. William Jarrod Stewart at six dental clinics around the state between Nov. 20, 2011, and Feb. 20, 2012.

Stewart, 40, died February 2012, officials said.

By letter and telephone, the state is contacting patients who received IV medication delivered into a vein at these clinics: Ocean Dental clinics in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Jonesboro and Little Rock, and Bevans Pediatric Dentistry in Little Rock.

No one treated at the Fort Smith clinic has been identified as being at risk, the news release states.

The state, seeking the blood tests based on information from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, “has concluded that some of the drugs used by Dr. Stewart may have been contaminated with infectious material,” according to the news release.

Ocean Dental released a statement later in the day, saying state representatives are contacting 84 patients, including 68 Ocean Dental patients, who received IV sedation drugs from Stewart and may have been exposed to infectious diseases.

Friday, April 05, 2013

News recaps on Wayne Scott Harrington, DDS

Dentist in HIV probe is taking allegations seriously, his attorney says
Tulsa World
"His previous record with the dental board is impeccable. He is taking the recent allegations very seriously and is fully cooperating with the Oklahoma Dental Board. At this time, out of respect for his patients and the sensitivity of the issues, Dr ...

Former Patient Wants Apology From Tulsa Dentist Under Investigation
News On 6
The Tulsa dentist accused of potentially exposing thousands of patients to HIV and hepatitis spoke out through his attorney Thursday. In a statement, Dr. W. Scott Harrington's attorney said, "his previous record with the dental board is impeccable. He ...

Witnesses needed to build case against Tulsa dentist in HIV, hepatitis scare
Tulsa World
Dentist's attorney puts out brief statement. "His previous record with the dental board is impeccable. He is taking the recent allegations very seriously and is fully cooperating with the Oklahoma Dental Board." ...

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Plainview Dentist Sentenced in Medicaid Scam

plainview patchState investigation results in 1-3 year sentence for Lawrence J. Bruckner, owner of Brooklyn practice.

APRIL 4, 2013 – Plainview, NY - A Plainview dentist with a practice in Brooklyn has been sentenced to 1-3 years in jail after a joint state audit revealed he had engaged in a fraudulent Medicaid practices.

Lawrence J. Bruckner, 63, of Plainview, will also have to pay some $700,000 in restitution, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced Thursday.

DiNapoli's joint investigation with Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman revealed that Bruckner's worked with five affiliated dentists who took in nearly $7 million in Medicaid payments from 2007 to 2011, at least $2.3 million of which was likely fraudulent. The practice was based largely on the illegal recruiting of Medicaid recipients and billings for services never rendered, DiNapoli's office said.

“Medicaid fraud exploits our most vulnerable citizens at taxpayer expense,” DiNapoli said. “By driving out cheaters, we can reduce burgeoning health care costs and ensure proper treatment for those in need."

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Texas House Committee on Public Heath Disappointing

The Texas House Committee on Public Health held hearings today on several bills before the legislation. HB 1480 - regulating DSO's was held this afternoon.

If you missed the live stream of this afternoon's session, you missed a fun time had by all. It was a carnival with something for everyone.

Someone representing Heatland Dental pulled a "Joe Wilson" when they yelled out "that's not true" when it was mention the Ontario Teacher Union now owned Heartland Dental. Heck, Heatland Dental issued press releases out the wazoo about the sale. Maybe the Heartland Dental stooge at the hearing was the one who was clueless.

Sadly if i had to pick a winner, I would say it were the well represented DSO's, which included some new poster children, including Dr. Jacob Dent. Not because of their evidence or testimony, but because it seemed the committee members had been sipping on some Kool Aid.

The most disappointing was hearing the committee Chair's about face on DSO's. It was a far cry from Rep. Lois Kolkhort in March of 2012. My, my, what a difference a year and millions of dollars in well placed lobbyist spending can make.

Last year she was irate at things she said her own research team discovered. Today those same issues were questioned by her and the committee as being overblown by those testifying.
There were glimmers of hope, when late in the day a young dentist testified that her DSO had quota's she was required to make. That's when I did see a tiny glimpse of the repulsed 2012 Rep Kolhorst.

Not sure where this late show of rage came from, since the committee had been told this at least 10 times since the lunch recess.

At 5:35 PM there was testimony about sound proof rooms - carpet on the walls- and dentists using papoose boards. Someone on the committee refused to believe any such things happen and stories about such are sensationalized! This member probably believes in the tooth fairy too!

Just a guess, but HB 1480 is dead and today was for the public to justify their pending
burial of the bill.

See video and audio at the House Website
See the video and audio at Texas House Website

Monday, April 01, 2013

Dr. Scott Harrington's dirty deeds go beyond sanitation

Dental assistant in hiding - Oklahoma dirty dentist leaves assistant exposed as well
Terri Valega is accused of sedating patients without a license, according to a complaint filed by the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry. Attempts to locate Valega have been unsuccessful. "I am supporting her because she's an honest person," said neighbor ...
Read more - video included