In a letter (see below) to Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) express their continued concerns about “deceptive practices of dental management service companies (DMSOs)”.
They further call on HHS OIG to exclude any corporate dental companies from participating in the Medicaid program, saying, “Based on the report by the Senate Committees and the prior findings of HHS OIG, we concur with our Senate colleagues and recommend that HHS OIG should consider excluding any corporate entity that employs deceptive business practices that result in substandard care, from the Medicaid program.”
Burgess and DeGette are also concerned about the length of time it has taken to bring one of these companies—Small Smiles Dental Centers—to justice.
The letter recounts the history of the Small Smiles investigation, starting with the “2008 investigative news report” by WJLA in Washington. That report actually aired in November 2007; so it’s even worse, right?
The 3 page letter also states:
- “based on evidence undertaken by our offices, we are very concerned that the corporate structure and management of dental clinics often results in a failure to meet basic quality and compliance standards.”
- “…we continue to have concerns about the ongoing operation of some of these dental management companies and the reimbursement of their services under the Medicaid program.”
- “While there is no Federal requirement that licensed dentists, rather than corporations, own and operate dental practices, 22 states and the District of Columbia, have laws that ban the corporate practice of dentistry.”
- “States have expressed concerns…that patient care should always be determined by the patient and their health care provider”.
Let’s hope HHS OIG takes serious the letter and comes down hard on the other DMSO’s with reported highly questionable treatment and business practices, including:
Kool Smiles, with clinics in Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington - owned by FFL Partners
Ocean Dental, with offices in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Iowa, Ohio and Kentucky -based out of Stillwater, OK
Reachout Healthcare America, who find their way to children at our schools - owned by Morgan Stanley
Adventure Dental and Vision, with locations in Colorado, Maryland, Virginia, New Mexico and more.
And we can’t forget the 100’s of local and regional mom and pop chop shops in Texas, which are way too numerous to mention.
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) is a Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation