The story accompanying the release of the Joint Staff Report On The Corporate Practice of Dentistry In The Medicaid Program can be found at The Center for Public Integrity, here. In David Heath’s story, he reports the new owners Small Smiles Dental Centers state the following:
“only five of the 20 inspection reports mentioned in the Senate report fell under its watch.”and
…"We've taken action to help CSHM improve its quality of care and management,"and
…“The new team immediately initiated an aggressive turnaround effort premised on patient care, clinical excellence and regulatory compliance,” the company said.Well, that’s nothing to be crowing about, since the “new management” only legally acquired the company 13 months ago putting a guy by the name of David R. Wilson in charge. That was in June of 2012, (13 months ago) so 1/4 of the inspections mentioned in Bacus/Grassley report took place under their watch. This is not a good record in my opinion — heck it’s as bad if not worse than the Michael Lindley/Al Smith or DeRose Family regimes. Nor it does it demonstrate anything close to “an aggressive turnaround effort on patient care”. What it does demonstrate, however, is “business as usual”.
CPI also reports twice last year the OIG threatened to shut Small Smiles out of the Medicaid program.
“Twice last year the HHS inspector general threatened to exclude Small Smiles from the Medicaid program. But in a letter to Grassley and Baucus, Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson said Small Smiles fixed the problems by selling the Manassas clinic, paying a $100,000 penalty and addressing other concerns.”Now, did CSHM actually “sell” the Manassas, Virginia clinic? That is highly suspect! A guy out of Idaho left his own practice and moved his entire family to Virginia and slapped his name on the place, calling it Kids and Family Dentistry. Coincidently, at the exact same time, the Small Smiles flagship clinic in Pueblo, Colorado changed it’s name to Family and Kids Dentistry, making the “owner” the same guy who was the lead dentist working for Small Smiles at the time. (Logos have a odd resemblance about them, don’t they?) Anyone taking bets on whether the DeRose family — founders of Small Smiles —are somehow still involved with these two clinics?
As for the $100,000 penalty, that didn’t even cover 1/2 of the amount scammed in the x-ray scam in just one Colorado Small Smiles. What would add insult to injury is it was probably on a payment plan, like the $24 million settlement in 2010.
The Bacus/Grassley report includes independent monitor reports on Small Smiles Phoenix, Arizona, Manassas, Virginia, Oxon Hill, Maryland and Youngstown, Ohio and others. Small Smiles signed a Corporate Integrity Agreement with OIG in January 2010 agreeing to 63 pages of terms and conditions, including self-reporting. Of course the “independent monitor” can only report on what they find. But what about what they don’t find?
I’ve not come close to reading the entire report just yet, but so far I’ve not read anything about the $200K x-ray scam in one of Colorado clinic that was NEVER self-reported, or the fact that a corporate staffer took the necessary Continuing Education courses to get the lead dentist in Mishawaka, Indiana credentialed in Indiana, making her effectively non-licensed to practice in Indiana to this very day or a host of other illegal activities going on behind the closed doors at Small Smiles Dental Centers and Church Street Health Management (CSHM). I doubt I find these things in the report, but you can find them here if you look.
It’s scary to think state dental boards and state Medicaid programs have not only turned a blind eye to the child abuse, but promoted and encouraged it. Those of us following this industry also know this is just the tip of the iceberg.
More on this eye opening report in the coming days. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to read The Joint Staff Report On The Corporate Practice of Dentistry In The Medicaid Program and evidence attached by clicking here .