Showing posts with label Former Small Smiles Still Getting Medicaid Dollars Under New Name. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Former Small Smiles Still Getting Medicaid Dollars Under New Name. Show all posts

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Albany Access Dentistry - Former Small Smiles Still Getting Medicaid Dollars

Dentists Getting State Money, Despite State Investigations

August 14, 2008 - 7:43PM
They're under state investigation, but they're still collecting state money.
Small Smiles Dentistry, which removed all traces of its name in late May, is now known simply as a "dentist's office." New York terminated the Colonie children's dental clinic from its Medicaid program on May 24, but the two remaining dentists subsequently applied for and received their own Medicaid provider numbers, a source in state government said.

That means they are legally working on children and collecting state reimbursements, even as three state agencies investigate their alleged misconduct.

Those allegations, made by three ex-employees and 107 parents, mirror claims made against Small Smiles locations in several other cities nationwide: that dentists performed rushed and unnecessary procedures in pursuit of lucrative bonuses and Medicaid money. Your taxpayer money.

In a recent survey of 29 Small Smiles parents:

  • 17 / 29 said they requested -- but were denied -- the ability to sit with their child(ren) during treatment
  • 12 / 29 said their child(ren) was/were placed under a papoose board, unable to move his/their arms and legs

  • 3 / 29 said they did not consent to the use of that papoose board in advance
  • 18 / 29 said the dentist placed crowns on their child(ren)'s baby teeth (as many as eight crowns in one sitting)
  • 12 / 29 said their child(ren) developed complications, including bleeding, infection, and severe pain
  • 6 / 29 said another dentist later told them the work done at Small Smiles was not necessary
In sometimes scathing statements, a few parents said their children were screaming in pain because the dentist did not wait for the Novocain to take effect, or skipped it altogether. Other parents described staff members placing dirty instruments back in the drawer, or in their child's mouth.

With the parents' written permission, CBS 6 mailed copies all of the questionnaires and statements to state investigators from three departments. One agency -- the State Education Department's Office of Professional Discipline -- had filed a subpoena, requesting related documents. That agency licenses the dentists.

Small Smiles corporate spokesman Don Meyer, who has called CBS 6's reporting of the allegations "a striking case of substandard journalism" full of "baseless claims," offered a generic response to the parents:

"We handle parent concerns on a case-by-case basis. Parents are encouraged to contact their child's dental center directly (464-0402) or call our 800 number. As previously stated, we take any concern seriously, and take immediate action to remedy problems if and when they occur."

Meyer promised an explanation for the name change at the Colonie clinic, but he had not offered one by Thursday night.

Stay with CBS 6 News for the latest on the state investigations.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Dr. Maziar Izadi, who retreated from a CBS 6 camera crew when approached for comment in March, is still practicing at the former Small Smiles clinic. CBS 6 is withholding the name of the other dentist because he, unlike Izadi, was not named by any parents.

Most parents said they didn't know who worked on their child(ren), because they never met the dentist. Only a dental assistant came to the waiting room to speak to them.