Showing posts with label Dr. John Lyons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dr. John Lyons. Show all posts

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dr. John Lyons, A Lyon Indeed – SmileZone Another House of Horrors?

In 2008 Michael A. DeRose and Letitia (Tish) Balanced agreed to pay the US government $10 million dollars rather than to face the charges of Medicaid fraud and possibility of serious jail time.  A civil lawsuit was brought against them and a few other dentists by the parents of 6 patients for the malicious treatment these of children.  At the time the clinics were named Medicaid Dental Centers.

It took more than two years before the North Carolina Dental board got off their ass and put DeRose and Ballance on probation (DeRose didn’t care, he didn’t even treat patients!) and sanctioned the other dentists involved.  Yes, just probation.  It wasn’t until 2009 that Michael DeRose’s dental licenses were striped from him in shame.  Dr. Ballance is still practicing dentistry in North Carolina.

Suddenly, when the settlement was reached the clinics were supposedly sold to Dr. Raf Rivera and the name changed to Smile Starters.  Mike DeRose financed the so called buy out…but my guess is if you walked up to Dr. Rivera and asked how much he wanted for his practice, he would refer you to Michael Scumbag DeRose.  Michael DeRose’s account’s son runs the Smile Starters Clinics for him, Mr. Ryan Root, under the name Root Dental Management.

What is scary is that DeRose and Ballance didn’t actually do the work, they just happened to be the owners.  The dentists involved only got a letter or reprimand from the lazy North Carolina Dental Board.  Like that is some big something, let me tell you, in the dental profession, it means nothing!  

The other dentists were: Dr. John Lyons, Dr. Jeffery Zieziula, Dr. Erron Brady, Dr. Lori Petree, Dr. Christopher Ballinger, Dr. Heather Berkheimer and Dr. Michelle Wilkerson.  According to the reprimands, Dr. John Lyons and Dr. Christopher Ballinger saw the patients, developed the falsified diagnosis and treatment plan and the other stupid dentists actually went along with it and did the work.

These dentists performed 16 root canals and put stainless steel crowns on a young girl named Sarah, and a 3 year old little boy got 14!!  HE WAS 3 YEARS OLD!!!!

His mother explained it, "When he came out he was crying, his whole shirt was soaking wet with sweat," Christy Dillbeck told reporters after Brandon emerged from the office. "His whole head was soaking wet and his mouth was full of gauze, just held open."

Presently Dr. Ballance operates Carolina West Dental in Waynsville, North Carolina.  So where are the others?

Dr. John Lyons didn’t forget what Michael DeRose and the DeRose dental treatment plan in which he was so well trained.  He’s doing the exact same thing today, with troublesome arrogance I'm told, and in my opinion I believe it to be true.

Dr. John Lyons:
Dr. Lyons opened up SmileZone in Gastonia, North Carolina.DrJohnLyonsSmileZone 
SmileZone is located at 816 East Franklin Blvd, Gastonia, NC 28054 (704) 396-6166.
He looks so pleasant doesn’t he?  Well, he's most likely NOT!  He’s quit brazen with the audacity to thumb his nose at his patients, their parents, his staff and the North Carolina Dental Board.

Don’t be fooled by the smiling child in the dental chair, please remember it’s probably a stock photo.

What Dr. Lyons should understand is that people are watching and speaking up.  Dr. Lyons might think he’s performing his services in some dark alley or basement where there are no witnesses and no cameras.  So with all of this in mind and his history, I write to Dr. Lyons the following  letter.  (Of course I could always be wrong, and as stated everything is just my opinion.  You be your own  judge.  If you have hard evidence to the contrary please pass it along.)  

To Dr. Lyons:  
There is a camera on cell phones these days and people know how to use them.  These phones also have voice recorders on them in case you have forgotten.  I doubt you pay your employees enough that they would go to jail for you.  If any of them recognize the fraud and don’t report it, they are guilty of fraud as well.  

To add insult to injury, it doesn’t matter if you fired every employee you have, there will always be another ready to hand your head to the Department of Justice on a silver platter.  Why wouldn’t they?  They would end up with a pretty large chunk of change by getting a percentage of the fines and settlement. 

You might want to study the case of Dr. Roy Shelburn in Virginia.  He was living just a little too high on the hog, cars were just a little too nice, home just a little to big, kids getting just a little too expensive education.  Get my drift? 

You should pass this bit of wisdom on to your hired guns too, 

Dr. Noel F. Foxdentist_dr_noel

Dr. Antuan Herriott

I realize your hired associate dentists are going to be upset to make it to the Dentist The Menace site, but so be it.  If they have been stupid enough to let you lead them down the road of no redemption, I’m willing to push them along.

I’m hearing you are doing these same root canals and silver crowns on regular basis when the x-rays would indicate a filling.  

I’m hearing you do 2 hours of procedures on these little children who are crying and struggling.  

I’m hearing you are darkening the x-rays to make it appear the cavities are worse then they are.  Surely this isn’t true, is it Dr. Lyons?

  • Surely you aren’t working on patients as young as 1 year old. 
  • Surely kids are not vomiting during procedures and you just keep the suction going and keep on drilling. 
  • Surely you don’t mention anything about the need of higher productions.
  • Surely you don’t have a dentist who would rather pull wisdom teeth than have sex?  Yes, those wisdom teeth bring in more dollars for you don’t they?

As you can see Dr. Lyons, I'm hearing a lot here.  So if this is happening, I suggest you put down your drill and back the hell off these children.  

Have a great day, asshole!

PS Would it be just way too weird to have a Dr. Padula, working at a Smile Zone in Albany, NY?

Here is original complaint:

The name of the office is "The Smilezone."  He apparently was one of the dentists working under Tish Balance in Charlotte. 
**************************************************has told horror stories of the treatment given to kids at the office.  They are a medicaid billing office.  ***************they do pulpectomies and silver caps on small kids 'all the time' even when the x-rays would suggest that the cavities could be filled without difficulties. They do 2 hour procedures on little kids that are crying and struggling and also do 5 and 6 crowns in one sitting.  The dentist 'darkens' the x-rays to make it appear that the cavities are worse than they actually are. 

Patients are as young as 1 year old.  Kids vomit during procedures ************ told, 'use the high suction and keep going.' There is office talk about 'production' and billing to increase payments.  One of the dentist routinely pushes for removal of wisdom teeth even when kids aren't bothered by them because "they'll cause you problems some day if you don't go ahead and get them out."  He then told my daughter that he likes removing wisdom teeth cause they bring in a lot more money.

*********not sure about the laws or whether or not there is enough evidence to do anything.  Whom ******** talk to?

I can't thank you enough for your response! ********* not doing well.  **********to quit but unable to find another job and with bills ******can't afford to quit. ********* keep a diary.  ********just started to do this. ******************************scared to death; being *************************************.  Thanks again for the info.  We'll look forward to further info regarding possible attorneys ***********************  If not,*************would like to report him although he seems to be pretty savvy at covering tracks. It sickens my stomach to **************what the kids are going through and knowing that ************** helping carry out his orders.

Here is a rebuttal from another reader:

I have been a regular on your blog checking it out everyday. Good stuff, up until tonight.
I just read your recent post about Dr. Lyons, and I have to completely "disagree" 100% with it. From what I was told from present and past employees was that he left Smile Starters to start his own private practice that sees children and adults up to 40 years old to do things totally differently from Smile Starters. 

I have been to his practice to check it out, and I saw that he even let the parents go back to be with their children while they were being worked on for cleanings and their operative appointments. I was pleasantly surprised!!  He welcomed parental involvement, and nothing was hidden like Smile Starters that I saw. This is what you and I and everyone else has been preaching for years. Very refreshing. I never saw the papoose board used.

I will be the first to call a spade a spade, but I will also will be the first to speak up when someone is wrong. When I read your post it really looked quite defamatory/wrong without knowing the correct facts of this guy and the practice. I have learned over the years to be really careful of what you hear/post from a possible disgruntled employee. I know nothing scares you or bothers you (LOL--taking on Small Smiles ), but you seem like a very fair and honest person from my conversations with you over the years. Someone mentioned to me that the practice even see more adults than children and more private insurance. I am all for shutting down these mills, but from what I saw his practice is not one of them. People around the community that I have spoken too have said that the practice has made a difference in  a good way.  I think they do a free clinics to treat people that are in pain for the adults every couple of months .

Might not want to be so harsh on this one, and change/delete that write up.  I would have a feeling knowing what I know about him and the practice that they might have a good case for slander and defamation on this one, so just be careful, but heck what do I know.You know way more about that stuff than me with what you went through with Small Smiles.  LOL Just trying to help as always:)


Note:  The website as it is today June 14, 2010 has Dr. Brian Dedmond as a dentist.  An inquiry with Dr. Dedmond resulted in the following:

Dr. Brian Dedmond worked at the Smile Zone from June 2008 until January
2009.  He had a six month contract there fresh out of school while waiting
for he and his father's new office to be built.  Brian has not worked at
the Smile Zone since January 2009, so their website is not up to date.

Thank you,

Dedmond Family Dentistry

Friday, April 11, 2008

Nine Dentist Suffer Consequenses of Abusing and Traumatizing Children

Charlotte Observer story


Medicaid dentists disciplined

Probation, reprimands were given before $10 million settlement


Christy Dillbeck holds the stainless steel caps and teeth of her son Brandon. Brandon at the age of 4 had 16 teeth drilled out and capped with stainless steel in a scam by local dentists. (original story aired July 2003)
Nine dentists have been disciplined in connection with a Medicaid fraud case alleging they performed or billed for unnecessary dental work on poor children in North Carolina.
Patients as young as 4 years old had multiple teeth pulled and root canals performed during single appointments at Medicaid Dental Center clinics in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Asheville and Raleigh, according to state documents.
At least two children received 16 pulpotomies, also known as "baby root canals," and 16 steel crowns during the same visit.
"It was a very traumatic experience for the children and their parents," said attorney Darren Dawson of Greenville, N.C., who represents some of the families involved.
"These were children who were 4, 5 and 6 who were told by their moms and dads that they were going to visit with trusted professionals. Suddenly, they're in there for three hours and coming out with a mouth full of steel."
In a settlement announced Wednesday, Medicaid Dental Center, a privately owned chain of N.C. dental clinics, agreed to pay $10 million to the government to resolve allegations that it performed and billed for unnecessary dental work on kids.
Clinic owners and dentists Letitia (Tish)Ballance. DDS of the Charlotte area and Michael DeRose,DDS of Pueblo, Colo., are also serving three years' probation, starting in 2005, by the N.C. Board of Dental Examiners.
The seven other dentists who worked for the clinics received written reprimands in 2005 that will remain permanently in their N.C. files and with the National Practitioner Data Bank.
"It's something that will follow them in any state where they try to practice," said Bobby White, executive director of the dental board.
White said the seven dentists received lighter discipline than the clinic owners because they were inexperienced and essentially following orders. Ballance and DeRose "were the bosses, making decisions and sending it down the line -- `You will do things this way,' " White said. "The board saw that as a mitigating factor."
The seven include three from Charlotte -- Drs. John Lyons, Jeffrey Zieziula and Erron Brady. Others are Drs. Lori Petree and Christopher Ballinger of Winston-Salem, Dr. Heather Berkheimer of Southern Pines and Dr. Michelle Wilkerson of Raleigh, according to the dental board.
None of the seven could be reached for comment Thursday. Several continue to work for Medicaid Dental Center, in the Charlotte office, now called Smile Starters, and elsewhere. Ballinger and Brady now work in private practice.
According to the board's reprimands, Lyons and Ballinger saw patients initially and developed diagnosis and treatment plans. The remaining five dentists performed the treatment. The board accused all seven of doing their work "without adequate diagnostic documentation."
The dental work was done between 2001 and 2003 and involved the children's baby teeth.
Since 2005, the dental board has made unannounced inspections of Medicaid Dental Center, and found the clinics substantially in compliance with its standards.
Spokeswomen for the U.S. attorney in Charlotte and the N.C. attorney general on Thursday would not disclose how many children they allege received unnecessary dental work, how many dentists were involved, or why the government settled for $10 million instead of bringing criminal charges.
Federal and state laws do not explicitly make it illegal for dentists to perform unnecessary work. Such claims are typically left to malpractice lawsuits in civil court. There are laws making it a crime to commit Medicaid and health care fraud in billings.
The settlement agreement doesn't prohibit prosecutors from bringing criminal charges. But when civil settlements are reached, sources said, it suggests prosecutors are not planning to pursue criminal charges.
16 `baby root canals'
One of the children treated in Charlotte was Brandon Dillbeck, then 4.His mother, Christy Dillbeck of Charlotte, said her son had 16 "baby root canals," and 16 stainless steel crowns placed on his teeth during one visit.
"He has nightmares to this day of people holding him down," the 24-year-old mother said. "He had blood all over his shirt. He was covered with sweat. He looked like he was in a trance. He was crying."
Dillbeck said she had taken her son to the dentist to have his teeth cleaned. She was 19 at the time and unemployed, and she took Brandon to Medicaid Dental Center because the office accepted Medicaid.
Dillbeck said she didn't give the dentist permission to perform the baby root canals or place the crowns on her son's teeth.
"What mother in her right mind would give permission to do that to their child all at one time?" she said. "A mother would have to be crazy to let someone do that to their child.
"He had beautiful teeth before. He came out of there, and they were all metal. He was embarrassed for years about how he looked. He wouldn't smile."
Brandon, now 9, has lost his baby teeth and the steel crowns, but his mom worries he may still suffer long-term problems.
Dawson, the Greenville lawyer, said Thursday he represents the families of five children, including Brandon, who received the questionable dental work. Four were patients at a Charlotte clinic, he said.
Dawson and his colleague Harry Albritton are in preliminary negotiations with attorneys for Medicaid Dental Center and the dentists, seeking to reach a monetary settlement rather than go to court.
'Black eye' to profession
The Medicaid Dental Center case gives a "black eye" to the profession, said Dr. Alec Parker, who heads the N.C. Dental Society, the state's professional organization for dentists.
"It's really just hard to understand how (dentists) could justify that," Parker said. "We put our trust in our health care providers, and we expect them to do what's best for the patient."
Part of the problem, Parker said, is that private dentists don't accept many Medicaid patients because the state-federal insurance program for the poor and disabled doesn't provide adequate reimbursement. Dentists also shun Medicaid because it means extra paperwork and frequently missed appointments because patients don't have transportation.
That leaves patients few choices for dental care and pushes dentists who do accept Medicaid to treat large numbers of patients. "When reimbursement rates are as low as they are, it makes it difficult to make ends meet," Parker said. "They feel like they have to overbill and overtreat to make a go of it."
Still, Parker said, if the Medicaid Dental Center dentists knew that what they were doing was wrong, and did it repeatedly, they should be facing "more than just a reprimand."
"People who are trying to take advantage of the system need to know that somebody's watching."
Checking out your dentist
Ask friends and family for recommendations. Insurance companies and managed care plans usually have a panel of dentists.
After obtaining names, check to make sure they are properly licensed and have clear records.
N.C. dentists are licensed and disciplined by the N.C. Board of Dental Examiners:; 919-678-8223.
S.C. dentists are licensed and disciplined by the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation:; 803-896-4300.
Ask about costs and why procedures are necessary and if there are alternatives.

Remember the names of these dentists, they have been involved in Fraudulent Medicaid Billing and Performing Unnecessary Dental Procedures on Children, likely strapping them down in restraints for hours at a time in a papoose board, traumatizing children and abusing them, all for the love of money and greed!
BEWARE of These Dentists:
Dr. Michael DeRose
Dr. Letitia Ballance
Dr. John Lyons
Dr. Jeffery Zieziula
Dr. Erron Brady
Dr. Lori Petree
Dr. Christopher Ballinger
Dr. Heather Berkheimer
Dr. Michelle Wilkerson