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Thursday, December 19, 2013

WFAA-TV Dallas with reporter Byron Harris and team win award for “Denticaid: Medicaid Dental Abuse in Texas”

Dupont Silver Baton AwardIt has been announced that Byron Harris and the investigative team at WFAA have been honored with the Alfred I. duPont Silver Baton Award by the Columbia University School of Journalism. One can only imagine what didn’t make it on air in the “Denticaid” series. 

Kudos to WFAA-TV Dallas for supporting Byron and his team. 


columibaWFAA-TV, Dallas & Byron Harris
“Denticaid: Medicaid Dental Abuse in Texas

 

A relentless two-year long investigative series that brought to light rampant pediatric dental Medicaid fraud

In this series of dogged reports, WFAA-TV and reporter Byron Harris uncovered a corrupt system in which hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars went to dentists who billed the government for questionable orthodontics and other procedures that, in some instances, harmed children.

Wfaa

One Dallas-area dental clinic cruised poor neighborhoods, luring kids with food and cash before performing extensive, unnecessary and often harmful dental work all without parental consent. WFAA’s detailed reporting featured whistleblowers, hidden camera video and the tireless pursuit of one dentist living in a mansion the size of Versailles. Because of this reporting, the Texas Medicaid commissioner and the state’s dental director resigned, and congressional hearings were held.

Byron Harris, reporter; Jason Trahan, producer; Billy Bryant, photographer and video editor; Carolyn Mungo, executive news director; Mike Devlin, president and general manager.


Don’t miss this enlightening discussion between Byron and his team.

Behind the Story - WFAA from Alfred I. duPont Awards on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Interview with Dr. Jay W. Friedman

 

Interview with Dr. Jay W. Friedman

Dr. Michael Davisby: Michael Davis DDS
December 17, 2013

 

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Dr. Jay W. Friedman has had a significant impact on the oral health of the public. His commitment to public health has spanned seven decades from the 1950s to the present. He pioneered in the development of quality standards for dental care, group practice, and dental insurance. An accomplished clinician, he has been a consultant to a number of state and national organizations. Notable are Dr. Friedman's remarkable contributions in leading the challenge against the prophylactic extraction of third molars, as well as advocating for adding dental therapists to the oral health work force. 

Dr. Friedman earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Columbia University in 1948. Subsequently, he practiced general dentistry in Farmingdale, New York from 1948-1954, including two years in the U.S. Air Force Dental Corps. In 1955, Dr. Friedman became the director of an innovative group practice dental cooperative in Seattle, Washington, which served as a prelude to his pursuit of a life in public health. He received his MPH in 1962 at the University of Michigan, followed by an NIH Fellowship. Friedman then moved to Los Angeles, California, becoming actively engaged in research, writing, consulting, and clinical practice. Between 1964 and 1977, he served as a researcher at the UCLA School of Public Health. His 1972 Guide for the Evaluation of Dental Care was distributed widely by the U.S. Public Health Service; it set the standard for monitoring dental practice. In 1974, he co-edited, with Jerge, Marshall and Schoen, Group Practice and the Future of Dental Care. In 2002, he reissued a revised edition of his Consumer Reports Book, “The Intelligent Consumer’s Complete Guide to Dental Health.” In 2012, he received the John W. Knutson Distinguished Service Award in Dental Public Health from the Oral Health Section of the American Public Health Association.

Introduction

Dr. Davis: Dr. Friedman I’m honored to interview you, both because of your work to advance public health dentistry over the years, but very specifically your efforts to reduce the routine removal of asymptomatic third molars (wisdom teeth). Extraction of these asymptomatic teeth most often generated no patient benefits. All the while, patient risks of morbidity and mortality were elevated, especially injury to the jaw nerves causing numbness of the lip and tongue, jaw fractures, post-operative infections, and the potential risks from sedation. A number of young adults faced serious clinical injury, inclusive of untimely death. Dr. Friedman, I’m not overstating, that your work to educate our dental profession actually saved many lives. In the face of your work, you were highly criticized by elements of the oral surgery community, whose potential income was threatened. Regardless, you took the high road, in advancing the dental profession, in service of the public welfare.

Interview Questions

Dr. Davis: Dr. Friedman, in recent years we’ve seen advancement of corporate owned and managed dental clinics. These private equity backed dental clinics have a fiduciary responsibility, to place the interests of shareholders to the fore, and generate profits. By contrast, doctors have both an ethical and legal responsibility, to place the patient’s interests to the fore. The conflict of interest seems obvious. Would you like to elaborate?

Dr. Friedman: It is not only excessive third molar extractions that should concern us. They are just one part of a pattern of what I call FUN (Functionally Unnecessary) treatment, which may be physically and fiscally harmful to the individual and exploitive of public funds. It applies to the whole gamut of dentistry, including unnecessary x-rays, cleanings, fillings, crowns, replacement of missing teeth, and the array of “cosmetic dentistry.” Nonetheless, I believe the majority of dentists are well-intentioned and provide care they believe is in the best interest of their patients. That they―we―are not immune to FUN treatment is due in part to deficiencies in our education and the need to generate money to pay rent, utilities, supplies, salaries, and our own income.

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Corporate owned dental clinics and private dental practices share the same objective, which is the generation of profits. In a capitalistic system, corporate shareholders benefit as if their investment produces the profit rather than the workers who perform the service. In a private practice, at least the dentist is part of the workforce. He or she may share some of the “profits” by awarding bonuses to auxiliary staff. In many private practices, the staff is given incentives to generate income and a bonus in the same manner as the corporate practice. So in that respect, I do not see a big difference between the two systems.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Medicaid gravy train continues


If you read this blog, then you know profits with Medicaid dentistry is made on high volume, gross excessive treatment, all at a single visit. The prime example is Small Smiles and their Production Per Patient (PPP) mantra handed out to their employed dentists. As testimony revealed in a New York malpractice case, "PPP is the Golden Goose", said one Small Smile executive. As was put another way by one of Small Smiles managers, “you eat what you kill”. 

It’s undeniable, years ago, Small Smiles Dental set the gold standard of excessive treatment by restraining children with use of the papoose board. 

As heat from press, parents and few state dental board followed some Medicaid accepting dentists and dental chains decided sedation would be the key even more profits, leaving the least amount of yuk in everyone's mouth—the children, the parents and especially the public.

Weekend "get-a-way" sedation courses were developed, lobbyist hired and representatives of the dental community were sent on press junkets stressing the need for higher reimbursements from insurers and Medicaid; all to accomplish the same thing—Production Per Patient. Now, as ABC news has reported in 2012, we have children being overdosed, brain damaged and dying at an alarming rate.

All the while, government regulators appear to be hiding under their desks. It is understandable that the bulk of the dental profession has given up. It’s been proven over and over there is no money to be made in Medicaid dentistry, if provided ethically. Add government corruption and ineptitude to the mix and it’s like the sadistic relationship between the addict, and their co-dependent enabler; life and death danger to both.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Family says 3 year old Finley Boyles was given too much anesthesia.

 

December 11, 2013

KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

imageA three-year-old girl is in critical condition following a procedure at a local dentist in Kailua, Oahu.

Three year old Finley Boyle is at Kapiolani Medical Center.  It's unknown if she had any pre-existing medical conditions but we do know a lot of lives have been changed forever.

Photos show three year old Finley Boyle's bright smile.  Family friends say on December 3 she was brought in for a dental procedure at Island Dentistry in the Kailua Professional Center when something went horribly wrong.

The friends say Finley was given too much anesthesia and sedatives.  She then went into cardiac arrest and now has severe brain damage and will never be the same.

Friends say the dentist is Dr. Lilly Geyer.  Her office, called Island Dentistry for Children, has a sign up saying it is currently closed.  Not even the delivery man was let in. There were people in the office but they weren't talking.

"We have no comment," said an unidentified man inside the office.

The Island Dentistry website has also been taken down, but a screen grab from the archived website says the practice opened in 2006 and has 2,000 patients.

The "about us" section of the site also says Dr. Geyer "is certified in Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, as well as Pediatric Advanced Life Support."  However friends say when Finley began having complications the staff ran to the pediatrician's office down the hall and that doctor came to help with CPR.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Update on Dr. Michael Tarver–Polliwog Dental–Ocala, Florida

December 11, 2013

Polliwog - Crooks signOn December 6, I received a long rambling email about Dr. Michael Tarver’s, apparently sent out by his dad, Buzz.  In this letter he blames everyone for Tarver’s woes, except Michael, which is typical, after all it is his dad writing it. You can read Buzz’s email in it’s entirety at the end of this post, along with other stories about Dr. Tarver and Polliwog Dental.

Buzz may have gone too far, when blaming Florida Department of Health Investigator, Mike Knezevich.  Buzz writes,

“Basically an unscrupulous investigator for the DOH, Mike Knezevich, fabricated evidence, filed false, misleading and inaccurate reports, possibly intimidated witnesses and ignored sworn affidavits and other statements from dental professionals.  In addition, Knezevich did not ask for or consider advice or clarification from any general dentist, pediatric dentist or medical or dental anesthesiologist.  Equally disturbing is that the DOH lawyers appear to have rubber stamped Knezevich's false reports without checking the facts.

I’m assuming Buzz is grasping at straw, since just days prior, The Health News Florida published an article about Dr. Michael Tarvers, a Whistleblower and video of Tarvers altering patient records. 

Tarver maybe going down, but he’s kicking and screaming every lick of the way.


Health News Florida Logo

Mon December 2, 2013

By Health News Florida Staff

A whistleblower’s lawsuit has been filed by two former employees of a troubled Ocala dental practice.

Polliwog Dental, the focus of investigations by the Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is being sued for retaliation and failure to pay overtime to the two fired workers, the Ocala Star-Banner reported (paywall alert).

The lawsuit says employee Andrea Frederick used a cellphone to videotape Polliwog owner and dentist Dr. Michael Tarver as he altered medical records that had been subpoenaed by DOH. The other worker, Tiffany Sullivan, alleges that Tarver ordered her to stall investigators and refuse to turn over records, the lawsuit states.

The former employees are asking the court for $15,000 per allegation and attorney’s fees. Tarver told the Star-Banner he would have no comment.

The Star-Banner reports that problems first emerged at the practice in July, when DEA investigators visited the Ocala practice, took some files and questioned employees. That investigation continues.
In September, Tarver was suspended under an emergency DOH order. That suspension stems from allegations involving two 4-year-old patients, but the local State Attorney’s Office said they found no reason to charge the dentist with child abuse, the paper reports.

Last month, Tarver and the DOH reached a settlement with the state's Board of Dentistry, which includes a $7,500 fine, education and the requirement that Tarver hand over operation of the business. The day before the hearing Polliwog changed its name to Churchill Dentistry. Tarver’s wife and business partner continue to run the practice.


Mass Email from Buzz Tarver

Dear Friends and other interested parties,

All families occasionally go through some tough times and our family is no exception.

In September, Michael's dental license was suspended by the Florida Department of Health (DOH).  Michael's license was recently reinstated.  The license suspension has been played out several times on the front page of the Ocala newspaper and on various local TV news reports. Michael has been subjected to extensive negative publicity accompanied by some personal threats.  Basically an unscrupulous investigator for the DOH, Mike Knezevich, fabricated evidence, filed false, misleading and inaccurate reports, possibly intimidated witnesses and ignored sworn affidavits and other statements from dental professionals.  In addition, Knezevich did not ask for or consider advice or clarification from any general dentist, pediatric dentist or medical or dental anesthesiologist.  Equally disturbing is that the DOH lawyers appear to have rubber stamped Knezevich's false reports without checking the facts.  A simple Google search, a search on the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry website or a brief conversation with a pediatric dentist doing conscious sedations could have quashed these false accusations.  On several occasions, Michael and his attorney provided irrefutable evidence of Michael's innocence to both the DOH and Board of Dentistry Probable Cause Panel.  The evidence was ignored and in the case of the Probable Cause Panel, even though the evidence package was hand delivered to each member of the panel, Michael's package was not considered at the hearing.  Frustrated with any semblance of a fair hearing or due process and at some risk to Michael from possible DOH retaliation, , Michael filed a formal complaint with the DOH on Investigator Knezevich.  The complaint became a matter of public record and the DOH was forced to consider the accusations by Knezevich against Michael.  It only took a few days for the DOH to check the facts.  According to Michael's attorney, The DOH has started termination proceedings against Knezevich and the Florida Attorney General's office is having conversations with Michael's attorney about filing criminal charges against Knezevich.  I guess the Ocala press doesn't consider this misconduct newsworthy as there has been no mention of it in the newspaper.  I'm going to send this email to them as a long "letter to the editor."

If you want the full, detailed story, please read on below.  Much of the information I am presenting is now a matter of public record.  To the best of my knowledge, the information I am presenting is accurate.  I understand that the truth is my defense against libel.  You are most welcome to share this email with other interested folks.  The facts are disturbing and disgusting.  Don't think for even a moment that something like this could not happen to you or someone you love.

Paraphrased from Michael's attorney, a former prosecutor for the Attorney General's office, former lead prosecutor for the Florida Board of Dentistry and now a private practice defense attorney…'What happened to Dr. Michael Tarver is the most compelling abuse of power and investigative misconduct I have experienced in my 30 years of legal practice.'

As a way of introduction, Michael is a native of Lakeland.  He graduated summa cum laude from both Wake Forest University and Tuft's Dental School.  Michael completed his pediatric dental residency at the University of Florida and is board-certified by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.  Michael also earned a CPA license and a Series 7 license and holds a multi-engine Airline Transport Pilot license and is a Certified Flight Instructor.  Michael and his wife Rebecca, a general dentist limiting her practice to children, opened their children's dental practice in Ocala in January of 2012.  They purchased a bank-owned, run-down building in a great location.  They remodeled the building and personally installed most of the dental equipment.  They also purchased a home in Ocala. They have substantial financial equity and sweat equity invested in their practice and the Ocala community.  They loved Ocala and thought of themselves spending the rest of their lives there.  All of that may have changed.

Michael was the only pediatric dentist within the 5 surrounding counties of Ocala seeing any significant volume of Medicaid children.  Michael's thriving practice was shut down by the DOH.  22 employees lost their jobs…most of whom collected unemployment and many  have not found new jobs.  Thousands of children had no local pediatric dentist available for treatment.  In addition, MCNA Dental and DentaQuest, Medicaid dental managed care organizations, suspended Michael from their programs.  Neither group has reinstated Michael into their programs.  This means that the vast majority of Medicaid children in the 5 surrounding counties cannot see a local children's dental specialist…especially one doing conscious sedations.  In addition, MCNA Dental and DentaQuest suspended Rebecca from their programs…and Rebecca has a spotless record… guilt by association.  Neither organization has reinstated Rebecca's credentials either. 

Michael was accused of 2 serious violations which if true (which they were not) would warrant a license suspension.  A mother accused Michael of administering, without permission, GENERAL anesthesia on her child.  Michael has never administered general anesthesia on any child…ever.  Michael knows of NO pediatric dentist that administers general anesthesia by themselves.  Specialized equipment is required to administer general anesthesia and a cursory tour of Michael's office would confirm that Michael does not possess such equipment.  Michael had signed consent forms, in both English and Spanish, for conscious sedation, which he administered.  Michael has performed thousands of conscious sedations.  Michael has never had to call 911 or other medical emergency personnel on any patient…ever.  This accusation by Knezevich was proven totally and absolutely false and without merit.

A second case involved a patient, under conscious sedation, that was starting to experience labored breathing.  Michael administered oxygen and a reversal agent and, within 15-20 seconds the patient was breathing normally.  At that point, Michael stopped his treatment, spoke with the mother and referred the patient to Shands Hospital for treatment.  Shands evaluated the patient and declined treatment.  The patient returned to Michael for treatment.  Michael used a different conscious sedation drug to successfully treat the patient.  The patient returned several times to Michael for additional treatment.  A 3-month employee, who had never previously worked for a pediatric dentist, sent an email to the Ocala police saying that she thought the patient died in the dental chair, Michael brought the patient back to life by performing CPR, and didn't tell the mother what happened. 

The Ocala police called Knezevich about the email.  That seemed to be the extent of Knezevich's investigation.  Michael has never performed CPR on any patient…ever.  This accusation by Knezevich was proven totally and  absolutely false and without merit.  In BOTH cases, Knezevich ignored sworn affidavits from attending dental assistants confirming Michael's innocence.  As mentioned previously, Knezevich did not consider advice or clarification from any other general dentist, pediatric dentist or medical or dental anesthesiologist.  The DOH in both cases, seemed to accept Knezevich's reports verbatim without doing any fact checking.

Michael was also accused of 2 records violations...one on each of the above patients.   A subpoena was issued on, I believe, July 18th for Michael's dental records on the above patients.  The subpoena expired in 2 weeks.  After holding the subpoena for 13 days, Knezevich delivered the subpoena to Michael's office on August 1st, the day before the subpoena expired.  Interestingly, and very convenient for Knezevich, that morning Michael and Rebecca left Ocala for a planned trip to Iowa City, Iowa to visit Rebecca's 92-yr old grandmother and some other relatives.  If was the first vacation Michael and Rebecca had taken since they opened for business.  They had talked about taking the trip for weeks with staff, patients and anyone that may have been interested.  Knezevich knew that they would be out of the office.  Michael never saw a copy of the subpoena but was informed by his staff through Knezevich that Michael had 24 hours to produce the records or he would be held in contempt of court.  Of course that wasn't true but Michael didn't know that. By law, the patient dental records belong to the DOCTOR. 

Michael did not give Knezevich permission to take the patient dental records.  In Iowa City, Michael used a computer program, for the very first time, to remotely access his patient dental records.  Most in-office computer programs automatically date-stamp entries into dental records.  This remote program did not. Michael made some late clarifying and explanatory notes to the two patient dental records without identifying the notations as late entries.  Michael did not delete any information from the records, he only added clarifying information.   Our research showed that there is no law in the Florida dental regulations prohibiting late entries or requiring a late entry be notated as such, and even though both a pediatric dentist and a dental anesthesiologist reviewed Michael's notes and submitted sworn affidavits that no material change was made to the patient records, Michael was charged with the records' violations. 

To the best of our knowledge, no dental license suspension has EVER occurred for such a records violation.  In order to get his dental license reinstated, Michael had to agree to the records violation.  The agreement obligated Michael to reimburse the DOH for its $17,000 in investigative costs by its unscrupulous investigator.  The reimbursement seemed to be very important to the DOH.  It's a bit like being jailed for a crime you didn't commit…being found innocent and released 3 months later, then being billed for all the costs of your incarceration.  If you don't pay up, you remain in jail. 

Oh, in the mean time, you lost your job, your incarceration was played out in the press, your home and office building went into foreclosure, all of your employees were let go and haven't found new jobs, your wife and friends no longer speak with you, your dog doesn't recognize you and you've been kicked out of your Sunday school class.  A bit of an exaggeration…but just a bit. 

Within 2 business days of the license suspension, Michael and his attorney delivered to the DOH complete and irrefutable evidence of Michael's innocence of the serious accusations.  The evidence was ignored.  The Board of Dentistry convened a probable cause panel of dentists.  Michael's attorney hand-delivered the same evidence to each panel member.  The panel ignored the evidence.  Later in the dental board hearing, after considering the lack of evidence to support the charges against Michael, the incoming Chairman of the Florida Board of Dentistry recommended dropping all charges against Michael.  The motion was seconded but did not receive a majority vote.

One week before the Florida Dental Board hearing, Michael took the unprecedented step of filing a formal complaint with the DOH against Investigator Knezevich.

The first business day AFTER the dental board meeting, the DOH initiated termination procedures against Knezevich…I suspect for gross misconduct.  The following day the Attorney General's office solicited information from Michael's attorney about possibly filing criminal charges against Knezevich.  Of course if this information had been available the day BEFORE at the dental board hearing, Michael may have had a more receptive audience.

Knezevich was a Gainesville police officer for 20 years attaining the rank of corporal.  My Army days would suggest he didn't advance very far in those 20 years.  A public records request by Michael showed some disturbing information about Knezevich…multiple driving while drinking violations, multiple internal affairs investigations, lying under oath, an extended suspension from the police force, scathing performance reviews, finally leading to a possible "quit or be fired" meeting.  He left the police force.  The DOH hired this guy.   He was their employee for 7 years.  

A public records request to the DOH revealed more of the same…scathing performance reviews, report filing violations, insubordination.  Knezevich liked to boast that "he puts dentists in jail."   Knezevich is a bad guy with a huge chip on his shoulder.

This begs the question…what was the DOH thinking when they hired this guy?  Either the DOH ignored his past history or they failed to do even a cursory background check…and they gave Knezevich cart-blanch authority, without adequate supervision, to act as judge, jury and executioner with Michael and other medical professionals. 

The actions of Knezevich, the DOH and the Florida Dental Board Probable Cause Panel are egregious.  The stress on Michael, Rebecca, their former employees and all of our families has been intense.  Michael and Rebecca are understandable disillusioned, anxious, distressed and uncertain about their future.  What this loving and caring couple has been put through is both tragic and unwarranted.

Thank you for taking your time to read this long email.  Colette and I appreciate you and thank you for the support of our family.  If so inclined, Michael can be reached at: tarver330@hotmail.com or 863-899-$%$$.

My best personal regards,

Buzz Tarver

863-838-#$##

The personal phones numbers were redacted by DTM


Related:

 

Ocala Post LogoOn August 30, 2013 the Ocala Post published an article where Travers lashes out at patients and parents, blaming Medicaid patients for his woes. click here to see the article and Tarver’s Facebook post.

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WTEVLogoSeptember 10, 2013 WTEV issued a story where locals evidently were wore out with Dr. Michael Tarver and his ugly ways.  (click here to read the article and comments)

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DTM logo

 

Florida Dental Board allows Dr. Michael Tarver access to children after Florida Department of Health says he’s too dangerous

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Monday, December 09, 2013

Tip of the hat to Dr. John Armstrong and state investigator Michael Knezevich

 

 

Dr. John Armstrong and Michael Knezevich-
A Story of Two American Patriots

by: Michael W. Davis, DDS

Dr. John H. Armstrong led a highly distinguished and venerated career as a physician, in the US Army. His active duty responsibilities included orthopedic surgery, supervision of a specialized trauma unit, as well as education for our next generation of physicians. He assumed responsibility not only for active duty personnel injured in the line of combat duty, but also their families at times. As a command medical officer, he was there for the well being of our nation’s soldiers.

Dr. Armstrong fully comprehends working with a team, and within chain-of-command, to obtain the desired objective. He will get results. He will support his command subordinates, in the field. As such, he generates team morale. He serves as both a leader by example, and importantly as a teacher, mentor and coach, to his subordinates.

This is the remarkable individual, Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed to position of Florida State Surgeon General, in 2012.

(for more please read: http://www.floridahealth.gov/public-health-in-your-life/about-the-department/ssg/index.html)

Michael Knezevich is a retired police officer veteran, of over twenty years. His skin is calloused from years, of dealing with the criminal element in our society. It’s in his blood to “protect and serve”, the public welfare. Today, Mr. Knezevich works at a salary of approximately, $36,000 per anum, as a malpractice investigator for Florida’s Department of Health and Human Services. He investigates allegations of Medicaid and Medicare fraud, for basically a peanut’s income. Mr. Knezevich is only a few paychecks himself distanced, from the disadvantaged, who depend on government assistance. He’s often up against highly skilled white-collar criminals and medical professional criminals, who cheat the taxpayer and harm the most vulnerable in our society. Mr. Knezevich is definitely fighting the good fight, “in the trenches”.

The bipartisan US Senate report of July 2013, on corporate dentistry offered firm evidence of dental Medicaid fraud, as a well-established industry and business model, within the dental profession. Further troubling evidence has been provided by reports of Bloomberg Business News, PBS Frontline, investigative reporters Byron Harris and Roberta Baskin, Debbie Hagan’s “Dentist The Menace” online blog, etc. At the federal level, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services has been continually admonished for “wrist slaps” on violators, which enable and perpetuate unlawful activities. Individual state auditors and regulators fare no better, in their enabling of Medicaid and Medicare abusers and fraudsters.

Dr. Thomas Floyd recently embarrassed Florida. He was an entrenched icon of organized dentistry, both in Florida and nationally. Dr. Floyd was allegedly involved in numerous acts of physical abuse of disadvantaged Medicaid children, going back for over a decade. Florida’s “good old boy” system gave him pass after pass. Allegations came and went, as did witnesses, but it was business as usual for Dr. Floyd. Florida’s regulatory authorities were in perpetual hiding, under their collective desks. Eventually, even this disturbing boil came to a head and popped. Dr. Floyd has since surrendered his dental license, and agreed to never again practice dentistry. However, this alleged Medicaid violator’s abuses were so egregious, this amounts to “a day late and a dollar short”, when it comes to protection of the public interest.

Next came the alleged actions against Dr. Michael Tarver, a pediatric dentist and Medicaid provider. His actions of amending patient records, after knowledge of those records being under Florida State investigation, have been confirmed. He added entries into patient records, but neglected to openly signify the amendments were at a later date, and not the day of patient care. This represents a potentially serious misrepresentation, which any first-year medical or dental student would be sanctioned for. In my personal work as an expert dental witness, this act alone usually changes the questions asked. It’s no longer a question of malpractice or not, but a question of fraud, and how severe the settlement will become against the violator.

Supporters of Dr. Tarver nitpick over a parent’s complaint of lack of informed consent for general anesthesia. In actuality, medicated conscience sedation was employed for the minor patient. Either way, medications were delivered to a child, which have known risks, without the consent of the parent, and with their expressed disapproval. Only a trained medical or dental expert is held to the standard of care, of understanding different levels of sedation and their associated risks. An untrained person can’t be held to medical/dental standard of care, but the doctor certainly is.

Dr. Tarver allegedly resuscitated a child patient, after they stopped breathing during dental treatment. The parent was allegedly never informed of this adverse clinical outcome, which violates standard of care, as well as Florida statutes relating to practice of dentistry. Parents were routinely denied access to accompany their children during dental care by Dr. Tarver, so they often had no direct knowledge of exactly how their children were being cared for. Although Dr. Tarver claimed in a press report, that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) condones his actions of denying parent’s access to their children during dental procedures, the opposite is the truth. The AAPD Guidelines state that most children behave better (not worse) with their parent’s presence. One is left to wonder, what Dr. Tarver may be hiding?

Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Smile Center—San Antonio—Settles Malpractice Lawsuit Involving 253 Patients

As the San Antonio Express-News reported December 3, 2013, Dr. Stephen Simpton, owner and operator of  The Smile Center, with 6 clinics in the San Antonio, TX area settled the malpractice lawsuit involving 253 patients. Details still about the dollar amount of the settlement have not been released.

Shorty after the law suit was filed in 2011, Dr. Stephen Simpton filed a defamation lawsuit against the law firm representing the parents of the children, as well as the television station and reporter, Brian Collister. 

Protecting First Amendment rights in Texas, District Judge David Berchelmann’s ruling in July 2012, threw out the lawsuit against the attorney representing the parents, and ordered Simpton’s Smile Center to pay $108,000 in attorney fees and sanctions.  The following month Dr. Simpton was sanctioned for his attempt to silence WOAI-TV, and ordered to pay $70,000.

Simpton further tried to escape the spot light on his misdeeds, having his attorney, Mr. Jon Michael Smith, send “Cease and Desist” letters to anyone else who reported about the abuse taking place in his dental clinics, including Flap’s Dental Blog and this one.  This one actually received two, after the first one didn’t seem to phase me.