Showing posts with label Western Dental. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Western Dental. Show all posts

Saturday, January 19, 2019

150 families have now filed lawsuits in Orange County Superior Court , Santa Ana, California against Children’s Dental Group — Number is expected to grow

By Deepa Bharath | | Orange County Register
PUBLISHED: January 16, 2019 at 6:11 pm | UPDATED: January 18, 2019 at 2:19 pm
IRVINE — Sixty-five families whose children were infected by rare bacteria when they underwent pulpotomies, or “baby root canals,” at an Anaheim clinic two years ago filed a lawsuit Wednesday, Jan. 16, naming the clinic, its operators, the company that installs and maintains water filtration systems, and several dentists.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, alleges that Children’s Dental Group and dentists who provided services there performed hundreds if not thousands of unnecessary pulpotomies on children. Potentially deadly Mycobacterium abscesses was found in several samples the county’s Health Care Agency took from the clinic’s water system. 

The children, ages 3 to 9, all underwent pulpotomies at the clinic between April and July 2016. In all, 500 children underwent the procedure during that time.

Children’s Dental Group has since become part of Western Dental. The clinic in question on East Lincoln Avenue is not owned or operated by Western Dental, but has changed hands.
So far, 150 families have filed lawsuits against the clinic and the number is expected to grow, said Dan Hodes, Irvine-based medical malpractice lawyer who is representing the children and their families.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

DSO Business Model Includes Violating State Labor Laws

Dr. Michael DavisDr. Michael W. Davis maintains a general dental practice in Santa Fe, NM. He serves as chairperson for Santa Fe District Dental Society Peer-Review. Dr. Davis also provides a fair amount of dental expert legal work for attorneys. He may be contacted via email:

David Sohn David Sohn is the principal attorney at SOHN LEGAL GROUP, P.C., which prosecutes and defends employment and business disputes on behalf of individuals, small businesses, and non-profit organizations.  Prior to starting his own law firm, David worked at several prominent national law firms in San Francisco.  He received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Stanford University and his law degree from Harvard Law School.  Due to the successful results he has achieved for his clients, David has been recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers Magazine. David can be reached at 415-421-1300 and
David Sohn is an attorney in San Francisco specializing in employment litigation matters. Last year, he represented a dentist in his wage and hour lawsuit against Western Dental Services, Inc. (“Western Dental”) for misclassifying him as an exempt employee and not paying him overtime wages and providing proper meal and rest breaks, among other things. Mr. Sohn tried this case in San Francisco Superior Court against an army of big law firm lawyers hired by Western Dental – and prevailed. As a result of his trial victory, the overwhelming majority of dentists in California are now misclassified. They should be receiving overtime wages, proper meal and rest breaks, and all of the benefits and protections of California’s employment laws.
The case is entitled Nanda v. Western Dental Services, Inc . (Case No. CGC-13-529601).

Dr. Davis: Mr. Sohn, I sincerely thank you for taking the time and effort to address matters of this case. I understand much of your legal work involves labor workplace rights. The public may not appreciate how even a licensed dentist may have their rights violated in the workplace. Could you give our readers an overview of the merits of this case and how your client was damaged? 

Mr. Sohn: Thank you, Michael, for giving me an opportunity to discuss with you and your readers my trial victory against Western Dental. This is a very important, game-changing case that all dentists and to-be-dentists need to know about so that they understand what their workplace rights are.

When I decided to take on this case back in 2013, I didn’t know anything about the dental industry. I took it on because I saw a very interesting legal question. That question was: are dentists employed by Western Dental compensated in the form of a “salary?” Western Dental compensates its dentists by a fixed daily rate and/or a percentage of their production. They are not guaranteed in advance a minimum weekly or monthly amount of compensation.

This legal question is important because in order for dentists and other licensed professionals to be exempt from all of the benefits and protections of California’s employment laws – such as overtime wages and proper meal and rest breaks – they must be paid in the form of a “salary.” If they are not, they must be provided these benefits and protections.

California law does not provide a definition for the term “salary.” Instead, California courts look to federal regulations for the definition of “salary.” The pertinent federal regulation, 29 C.F.R. § 541.602(a), states that an employee is paid on a “salary basis” if he or she “regularly receives each pay period on a weekly, or less frequent basis, a predetermined amount constituting all or part of the employee's compensation, which amount is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of the work performed.” This same federal regulation also explains that if an employee is ready, willing, and able to work, but he or she does not work due some reason occasioned by the employer, he or she is not being paid on a “salary basis.”

At the conclusion of trial, the judge held that the dentist I represented was not paid in the form of a “salary.” The dentist never received on a weekly, or less frequent basis, a predetermined amount of compensation which was not subject to reduction based upon variation in the quality of quantity of work performed. He was only paid for the days that he worked and on occasion received a percentage of the production he generated. On numerous occasions, even though he wanted to work, if he was not called into work, he was not paid. Given these circumstances, he was entitled to overtime wages and proper meal and rest breaks like other non-exempt staff employed by Western Dental.

As a result of the judgment issued in my case, all dentists – and for that matter any licensed dental healthcare professional (such as orthodontists, periodontists, etc.) – in California paid on any basis other than a salary basis are “non-exempt” employees who are entitled to overtime wages, and proper meal and rest breaks.   

Dr. Davis:  The defendant in this case, Western Dental, is the largest employer of dentists in the state of California. They also operate dental clinics in Nevada and Arizona. They are the largest provider of dental Medicaid services for California. As large of a dental industry operation as is represented by Western Dental, is it reasonable to speculate on the pervasiveness of dentist/employee workplace labor violations (both in Western Dental and the dental service organization (DSO) industry, as a whole)?   

Mr. Sohn: During the course of my case against Western Dental, I discovered that Western Dental’s approach to how it compensates its dentists is not unique. I spoke to a number of dentists and specialists who worked for other practices large and small, including other DSOs and small private practices, and the impression I received was that the overwhelming majority of dentists and specialists in California – and in the country – are paid on a similar non-salary basis. That’s when I realized my case could have significant industry-wide consequences.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Western Dental extorting $ from California Taxpayers?

Western Dental has been in a financial bind for some time, I would guess mainly due to the poor care, many complaints and most of all the OIG audit taking place. Then last week the OIG issued it's report on California's Denti-Cal program which indicated many Western Dentists has "Questionable Billing". Two days later, Western Dental issued a statement that they would no longer accept new Medicaid patients beginning June 1. citing low reimbursement from the state program. Hmmm... Sounds like an attempt to extort more money from California taxpayers and the Denti-Cal program to me. Apparently they need more money if they are to survive without "questionable billing". And who is right there campaigning for them... the California Dental Association. Didn't hear a thing from the CDA about the Questionable Billing Issue! Knock knock!! Anyone there...!!

Here is an article at Dr. Bicuspid

Here is where I agree with the CDA, reimbursement rates need to be increase. But only and I mean ONLY when they get the massive amount of fraud stopped dead in it's tracks. Until then... no way!

Maybe Western Dental is still a little pissy about the 1997 raid.

California's largest dental HMO, already under state investigation for allegedly "shoddy" patient care, is now the focus of a federal criminal probe into insurance-fraud allegations made by former employees of Western Dental Services.

About a dozen investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspector's Office raided two Western Dental clinics Friday morning in the Sacramento area and hauled out boxes of medical records sought under court order.

Investigators were seeking evidence of what they believe to be "widespread overbilling" by Western Dental offices throughout California, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, a copy of which was provided to The Times. The court papers also say that federal investigators suspect the alleged insurance fraud scheme was carried out with the knowledge of Western Dental management and owners.

Read the story here

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Private Equity Western Dental opens SmileBest in San Antonio–Sinking Ship before it sales ?


Grand Opening on June 30, 2012 for a new “SmileBest Dental in San Antonio.

SmileBest is really Western Dental - P.O. Box 14226, Orange, CA 92863

The..(clearing throat and trying not to choke)… “owner” is Soumava Sen, D.D.S

See press release here
Media contact:

Kurt Hilzinger, Partner, Court Square – is on the board of Western Dental – see here, pg 11.

May 30, 2012

Western Dental mandates Jefferies for sale process

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.

Western Dental Services, the private dental clinic chain, has mandated Jefferies for a sale process, a source familiar with the matter and an industry banker told mergermarket.

The Orange, California-based company generated USD 71m in EBITDA for 2011, said the source familiar. Books have been distributed to potential bidders, but a first round bid date has not yet been set, the source said.

Western Dental will appeal to private equity firms, said the banker and the source. Jefferies has been reaching out to private equity firms regarding the sale, said the banker.

The company was acquired by Court Square Capital Partners, formally known as Citicorp Venture Capital, in 2005. This news service previously reported that Court Capital was one of the bidders in the final round of the previous process for the company in 2005, at which time Western Dental had USD 45m in EBITDA and was said to be selling for a multiple of 8.2x EBITDA, according to previous reports by this news service.

Read the rest here

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Monday, May 05, 2008

Western Dental Corporation Another Ruthless Dental Mill?

An Open Letter To Western Dental Reposted Here From The Hive Blog
Comments To Post At The Bottom, also reposted.

Here is the letter:

A letter to the corporate office of Western Dental... An absolutely INHUMANE treatment of low income patients by a facility that is advertised as caring for those with medi-cal or low income with respect and dignity AND great care... FAR FROM THE TRUTH
To whom it may concern:

Please accept this letter as my personal and adamant request for the services rendered and the absolutely filthy conditions of your Western Dental office located on Briggsmore Avenue in Modesto California to undergo some SERIOUS investigation.

I would like to explain the circumstances which have brought me to this point of complaint... and I'm doing so PRIOR to having received the full service of my initial visit due to the fact that I am absolutely livid over the way in which my dental procedure and status as a patient has been treated by various members of the Western Dental Team which has revealed itself to be an obvious standard for all other patients as well.

My reasoning for visiting WD was purely out of need to be seen on a Saturday and to get a broken tooth fixed by crown procedure prior to my private insurance undergoing changes - regular dental offices are not open on the weekends so.... I made an appointment for 8 am on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007.

The waiting room was to capacity when I arrived by other patients who had an appointment at either the same time or very near the same time as mine. I waited for over 1/2 an hour before I was even given initial paperwork. The condition of the waiting room was filthy and the staff was beyond disorganized in the procedure of caring for those that should have come first...their patients.

Nearly an hour later I was led back to get X-rays by a very kind technician... yet obviously in a huge hurry due to the large volume of work needing to be done... as a result - I had to be re-xrayed later in the day. It was nearly two hours of my arrival that I was even seen by a doctor. He came in and told me I needed a root canal. Then upon examining my tooth - he admitted that he'd misdiagnosed and that I only had a broken tooth.. This is what I'd already written in my paperwork and had explained to each staff member that I'd come into contact... yet another obvious sign that even the doctor had far too much to do - to the point where reviewing my chart prior to seeing me hadn't even occurred. Again - this man was very kind.

The condition of the facility, was again, very dirty. From the sticky floors to the dirty containers which held materials that were eventually needed in completing my procedure. The facility appeared to not have been cleaned in a substantial amount of time.

Having NO CHOICE but to proceed with this procedure at that time was very frustrating. In all of my years of having dental work done, never before have I ever experienced such deteriorated services and poor conditions in which to have my teeth worked on. I am in full understanding that these offices are typically used by those having state funded insurance programs... to me the treatment received by those people in this office IS SHAMEFUL!!! I feel that by way of lack of care for their scheduling and the lack of cleanliness of the facility your company is essentially telling these people that A. Their time is not important and B. Since they have no other choices, or may not know that they have other choices - they are forced to be treated in filth.

I was at your office for well over three hours and had to leave prior to even getting the cleaning which comes with the service I'd received. The dentist was VERY professional, however once he finished drilling down the broken tooth he left me in the care of, once again, a VERY nice woman who admitted to me that what she was doing, fitting the temp crown, wasn't within her scope of practice... however because of the over scheduling and lack of adequate staff members, she was forced to do the work she isn't even qualified for. It took nearly another 1/2 hour for her to trim the temporary down to even fit...

After I asked if I could do the cleaning at another time as I'd been at their offices for nearly FOUR HOURS - I was clearly told that the crown would be in within 1 to 1 1/2 weeks. I stopped at the front desk - had to actually request to be helped by two staff members who clearly knew I was there yet continued with a very personal conversation - I was told that my portion of the bill would be $400 - I wrote a check for $200 and left.

Four days later the temp fell off - I visited the office that night and was again helped by the same woman..although VERY NICE... admittedly unqualified to do what she was doing. She put a stronger adhesive onto the tooth and sent me on my way.... with a huge gap between the temporary crown and the tooth itself. She said it would be ok as the permanent crown was going to arrive in a couple of days. Well... it hasn't and it's not ok.. it is painful...

Being patient and a rule follower I waited for two weeks and I phone the office to find out where the crown is - I was informed by the woman that answered the phone that no one would have told me 1 1/2 to 2 weeks as it NEVER takes less than THREE weeks to get the crown in. Having NO choice but to wait... I did and in fact have received a bill for UNDER $200 - which makes me grateful that I did not pay the full $400 that they were requesting at my initial visit.

At three weeks, this past Saturday, I phoned again - and after 20 minutes on hold and being called by the incorrect name twice - I was told that it would be yet another week until the crown arrived from the lab.

This was enough. I asked to speak with a floor supervisor and after several minutes of bantering back and forth with this woman about my right to speak with a manager regardless of when the crown would arrive she finally told me to hold on... again placed on hold for a substantial amount of time - only to have the SAME woman pick up the phone and inform me that the floor manager found the crown and it would be in on Monday - period end of sentence. I told her that I still wanted to speak to her - she told me the manager was too busy and that I needed to call her back in 15 minutes. I told her that I would appreciate her taking MY number and having her call ME back when she was free. She never did.

I did lodge a complaint with your corporate office and they were in fact kind. I was uncomfortable when I was describing the current condition of the tooth as being painful and then being corrected by your representative to be told that "oh so it's annoying you?" I received the canned standard answers that are expected when this type of customer service disaster occurs.

Here is my MAIN ISSUE...

If this is honestly the type of service that people with medical are expected to accept than I am horrified by the sad sad misrepresentation which Western Dental is pouring all over the media... had I not had the verbiage and ability to insist that I be treated with the respect that I, as a customer, paying or not paying out of my own pocket deserves.. than I would still be sitting here today with no resolution to this matter - well, in fact I am still sitting here with no resolution to this matter as I still have an improperly fitted temporary - and no absolute security that this suddenly post complaint found crown is even really found at all.

I was told by your corporate office that I was in fact the second complaint about the same property that day... how this could possibly be the first time for this to happen - I find VERY difficult to believe.

What really bothers me are the looks on the faces of the other patients in that office... knowing full well that they are being treated disrespectfully yet perhaps not having the voice or option to speak was a truly truly truly disturbing experience - to make it worse.. I still have to go back there to get the permanent crown placed... I was told by corporate that the staff at the office already knows that it was me complaining to them --- this makes me highly uncomfortable for my return visit.

Western Dental Corporate Staff... I am sincerely hoping that this type of inhumane service being provided to those less fortunate than others changes and changes VERY quickly... you are a huge company and the money is very important I'm sure... however the overworking of your staff in order to squeeze in as many patients that you can --- is, in the process, degrading the very people that pay your bills.

With HUGE hopes that this is resolved,

Comment 1
follow up on this complaint, Yo....don't let it slide. raise a banner if necessary. This should never be tolerated and I am so glad you did not do so for the sake of convenience.

Comment 2
Although, your letter certainly pointed out the problems your encountered during your visit to a Western Dental facility, I can tell you from personal experience and from all of the other complaints I have read about Western Dental, don't expect to receive any kind of acknowledgement or apologies from Western Dental. They are a shady outfit no matter what location you happen to visit.
My husband spent 9 hours at their office in Antioch, CA. According to the law, medical and dental practitioners cannot subject their patients to more than 3-4 hours of treatment or service in a 24 hour period. My husband's dental insurance policy pays contracted providers at 100%. Western Dental is a contract provider with United Concordia (our dental insurance carrier through California Field Inronworkers Union) and they were supposed accept the insurance payment as payment in full. However, Western Dental did not properly bill our insurance company for the services they provided to my husband and as a result, they were subsequently paid less than what they calculated.
Western Dental decided that they would try to bill us for the difference. They started sending us 2-3 collection letters a month and I would call them and explain that we owed them nothing because we had 100% coverage. Then they started making collection call to our home. They would call every other day threatening to send us to collections if we didn't pay. I call the ironworker union and United Concordia to let them know what was going on. However, there wasn't much they could do. I went around and around with Western Dental corporate billing office in Orange, California, and just about everybody I spoke to down there had absolutely no knowledge about the laws governing HMO providers.
Fortunately for us, this is what I do for living . . . . medical billing. I tried and tried to explain to them that what they were doing was against the law. Balance billing and HMO patient is a highly illegal practice. I knew that most patients don't understand the complexities involved in medical billing, so I decided to conduct a rather in depth investigation into Western Dental's billing practices and I discovered that they were doing the same thing to all of ironworkers and their families throughout the State of California.
I concluded that Western Dental practices this illegal billing tactic banking on the fact, that most people don't understand the medical billing and reimbursement policies associated with their insurance carrier. The majority of patients simply trust that their medical or dental provider wouldn't bill them (the patient) unless the amount was truly the patient's responsibility. I believe that Western Dental's main source of profit comes from two aspects of their bsuiness, 1) they provide shipshod treatment to the patients, and 2) they use highly illegal billing tactics in order to coerce their patients into paying them above and beyond the contracted rate that Western Dental has agreed to accept from the patient's insurance carrier.
In order for your story to have any affect on Western Dental, please file a complaint with the following agencies; 1) the ADA (American Dental Association), 2) the California Attorney General's Office, 3) the CDA (California Dental Association), 4) California Board of Dental Examiners, and 5) the California Dept of Consumer Affairs.
If I were you, I would seek out another Dentist's opinion of the work done by Western Dental and ask them to document their opinion in writing as your situation may eventually force you to file a malpractice suit due to the poor dentistry work and pain and suffering that you have already endured and still may endure in the future. Document everything that happens to you as a result of your visit to this Western Dental facility. If your teeth are not properly repaired , you could end up suffering from a multitude of other health issues that can be caused by poor dental treatment. I cannot stress to you enough to please protect yourself by following through with my advised suggestions above, otherwise you will no recourse in case something happens in the future.
Good Luck

Comment 3

Remember the twenty Modesto dentists who were arrested several years ago, for their horrible treatment of children, the elderly, and low-income people on Medi-cal? (As far as I know, they are still waiting for trial. Justice is slow.)
These scams have been popular for many years in other states as well--especially Florida. And that is what they are--scams, just for easy money. Unqualified people have pulled entire mouthfuls of teeth that should never have been pulled. Often screaming children and the elderly were not even given pain medication. In addition,conditions were filthy.
No, these conditions are NOT normal. A dentist's office must be spotless. Otherwise, diseases spread like wildfire. Everyone must know what they are doing. Of course, you should never go back there. It is too dangerous. You do need to see a REAL dentist.
A lot of con men are "very nice". That is why they are so successful. The "wolves in sheep's clothing" play their roles well. It is important to know who is putting their fingers in your mouth!

Comment 4
Well, if you are thinking of going back to that dentist, check out the really horrible complaints against Western Dental, all over California. In the computer search spot, type: "Complaints against Western Dental" or go to
One person had good teeth until Western Dental worked on nine of them. Then they had nine bad teeth.
They try to treat as many people as they can and do as many procedures as they can--even if the procedures are not needed, so they can bill for them.
In addition, the FBI is investigating them for insurance fraud.
One complaint was from Modesto. Even though the dentist never had time to see her (after a long wait in extreme pain), Western Dental sent her a bill. When she didn't pay it, they kept adding late fees. They have a long history of complaints about fraudulent billing.
A dental chain like Western Dental in Florida was even kidnapping low-income children from their yards to pull their teeth.

more can be seen here....

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Warning To Dental Grads Being Wooed By Corporate Dental Companies

Be careful about how you interpret the word "guaranteed” income when being wooed by a corporate dental management company such as FORBA, Heartland or Western Dental. Read this next paragraph very carefully.

A lot of these
corporate associateship contracts are set up so that you are guaranteed a certain salary based upon a specific (and sometimes unattainable) level of production. If you don't hit that level of production, you are still "paid" that salary, but you then owe the corporation the difference between the salary and what you actually produced.

So, in many cases it may seem that you will be guaranteed big dollars right out of graduation, but often that is based upon unrealistic levels of production. They spin it as "guaranteed" because you will in fact be making that money, but you will ultimately have to pay part of it back.
Go ask a few optometrists or pharmacists how much they like the corporatization of their respective professions, and you'll hear all the reasons why every effort should be made to preserve dentistry's professional autonomy.
Then you get hooked up with a Corporate Dental Company that gets nailed for mistreatment, over treatment and over billing insurances or using a blanket DEA number for prescriptions and your once stellar reputation is tarnished forever.

All those long months, days and years spent preparing yourself for a wonderful noble career is gone down the drain in less than 6 months. Not even mentioning the enormous education debt you’ve accumulated and now you won’t be able to get a job that would earn enough wages to make your loan payments let alone live, have a family or anything else. All those dreams of a fruitful life that got you through all those years of study are gone in a flash.

Lets say you don't like the procedures they teach you at their "training camps". What are you to do, you have signed a "non compete" clause in your contract. Then what are you going to do. Talk about stuck between a rock and a hard place!

There's no altruism involved in these corporations' business decisions. Corporate mills are notorious for encouraging over treatment in order to meet production goals. If you're seriously trying to come up with a minimally acceptable treatment plan for a Medicaid patient, you're looking at sealants vs. restoring every pit & fissure in the mouth, complex direct restorations instead of pressed ceramic crowns, periodontal debridement, flippers instead of implant-supported bridges, etc.

Heartland and Western shareholders are just like the ADHP proponents in that respect--they're out for their own best interests, not the public's, but they also know saying "it's for the greater good!" is a nearly impenetrable moral shield for them to hide behind.

The moral in both cases is that dentistry needs to start being proactive about figuring out solutions to the access to care problem, instead of letting other groups seize the initiative and then trying to fend them off while backpedaling.

Some companies like Kool Smiles ask employees to sign a 'restrictive covenant for 1 or more years in a radius of 5-10 miles. This mean you might be SOL if you want to work in that area.

A portion of Small Smiles /  FORBA contract says:
...for a period of 2 years following termination, you can't provide dental services for Medicaid patients within 10 mile aerial radius of the Practice Location, or Employer's practice location on the date of termination if Employer has moved its location, or the location of any of the Employer's related practices.

Add this to the $500 a day penalty for not giving them a 90 day notice and you are just screwed!  What if you had relocated!  What now?