Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Your Tax Dollars Are Paying Dentist To Torture Our Children

That's right, your tax dollars are paying for these ruthless dentists to use straight jackets to abuse our children for non-emergency dental care.

In May of 2004 9NEWS Investigative Reporter Deborah Sherman began a series of reports on the treatment of children at a chain of dental clinics in Colorado and across the country. These reports have lead to changes in Colorado state law and prompted investigations in a half-a-dozen states.

In the first part of her investigation called "Papoose Boards" that aired on April 29, 2004, Investigative Reporter Deborah Sherman reported that some parents filed police reports after their children left dentist offices with scrapes and bruises.

These are the same clinics that 9NEWS reported had been hiring dentists not licensed in Colorado to work on some of the state's poorest children.

Children like Adrian and his brother Daniel, Dakota and her brother Chris, Cecilia , Alexis and Angelica.

All of their parents say the children were traumatized by a trip to the dentist.

"She actually threw up on me," said Tamera Elliott, mother of 2-year-old Cecilia. "She was just terrified of going back there."

Lucia Nevarez said her son Alexis, "went in crying and came out crying."

The moms took their kids to the "Medicaid Dental Clinic" in Aurora or "Children's Dental Clinic" in Thornton. That's where Catherine Richardson says both of her kids left with bruises.

"It was about the size of a half dollar," Richardson said as she pointed to the spot above her 2-year-old daughter's eye.

Richardson says Dakota was bruised on her head. She says her five-year-old son Chris had a bruise on his wrist when his arms were tied down in the dentist's chair.

9NEWS learned the children were put in restraint devices called papoose boards; unable to move their arms, legs and heads while dentists worked on or cleaned their teeth.

Some of the children were restrained for more than an hour.

Beatrice Ponce says her two boys came out very scared.

"Their mouths were swollen from all the work and full of blisters. Their foreheads blistered up and peeled."

The moms say they were told the clinic might use restraints on their kids and they might get red marks.

But the moms say they didn't realize the extent of what was going on because they weren't allowed in the exam room.

"What goes on back there?" asked Catherine Richardson.

"It scares me, you know? These are my babies and nobody can go back there with them."

The Aurora and Thornton clinics were co-owned by Drs. William Mueller of Denver and Michael Derose, DDS (Kansas Disciplinary Action Against Michael Derose, here) and Ed Derose of Pueblo. [side note: evidently from document at the Kansas Dental Board, Michael DeRose, DDS had been sanctioned in North Carolina in December 2005. In Sept. 2006, the Kansas Dental Board took action to enforce the North Carolina Order and another hearing is set for December 2008 to see that all conditions of his probation are met. North Carolina ordered him to show and demonstrate the use of a papoose board prior to strapping any child in one.)

The Deroses also owned three other dental clinics in Colorado: Smile High Dentistry in Denver, Small Smiles Dentistry in Colorado Springs and Derose Children's Dental Clinic in Pueblo.

Nationwide, the Deroses owned 22 clinics. Dr. Mueller is part-owner in 12 of them. All of the clinics cater to kids on Medicaid.

[All three sold their ownership in the company in 2007].

The Executive Director of Colorado's Medicaid office, the Colorado Deptartment of Health Care Policy and Financing, was astonished at the police photographs of the children that 9NEWS showed her.

"This is really extreme," said Karen Reinerston. "If these injuries were caused by the papoose board, it is not a nice little blanket that you wrap around them and make them feel like a papoose."

Drs. Michael, who had medicaid billing issues in North Carolina in 2005, and Ed Derose and Dr. William Mueller would not talk to 9NEWS on camera. But in an audio-taped interview, Mueller says they use papoose boards to protect children. "They're used so the children won't make a movement in an inopportune time and hurt themselves or cut themselves," said Mueller.

But at a clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, which is co-owned by Dr. Mueller and the Deroses, 4-year-old Jonathan Barrera died from an overdose of anesthetic while strapped to a papoose board.

The Arizona Dental Examiners Board investigated the dentist responsible, Dr. Matthew C. Nolen, saying the restraints "could have masked the signs of respiratory distress...or signs of the child going into convulsions."

Before he began working at the Arizona clinic, Nolen trained at the Medicaid Dental Clinic in Aurora, Colorado.

Nolen testified before the Arizona Dental Examiner's Board. He admitted that most parents did not know about an unwritten policy at the Arizona clinic to restrain every child under the age of 5.

A Board member asked Dr. Nolen "Is the papoose board common in your practice?" Dr. Nolen replied, "Very common."

(The report was clear that Dr. Matthew Nolen's treatment was below an acceptable standard of care.   They also found that Dr. Mathew Nolen was less than truthful with his informal testimony. (no surprise there) Paragraph 39 of the report issued by the AZ State Medical Board, states: "Dr. Nolen testified at an informal interview that it was routine clinic policy to place children under five years of age in a papoose board."  They also found "there was no credible evidence that Dr. Matthew C. Nolen and tried any other form of behavioral management techniques prior to restraining the child."(paragraph 51.  Dr. Nolen was hired and went to Colorado for training before he started treating patients at the Arizona Small Smiles clinics.)*
"Routine?" the Board member asked. "Pretty routine for children," said Dr. Nolen, "under the age of five."

Last April, the Arizona Dental Board revoked Nolen's license. One of its findings: that Nolen had used the papoose board on Jonathan because it was convenient; not because he had been misbehaving.

9NEWS has also learned Dr. Mueller was charged two months ago with gross malpractice at his clinic in Tennessee for "routinely and arbitrarily immobilizing kids up to 3-years-old on papoose boards, without justification, for longer than an hour for routine dental work".

Dr. Mueller denies his clinics have a blanket policy to use restraints.

Still, Colorado Dental Examiners Board is now investigating why they were used on these kids.

Jason Hopfer, of the Colorado Dept. of Regulatory agencies said, "If they're doing it simply because it's convenient, that is a concern."

9NEWS talked to an expert, Pediatric Dentist Dr. Bradley Smith, spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry in Colorado.

Smith says he rarely uses papoose boards in emergencies. "If a child comes in and they've fallen or broken their tooth or cut their lip or had some major oral trauma and we have to do treatment that day and we have no choice at all," said Smith.

Smith also prefers to have parents in the exam room with him while he works. "I want to be able to talk to the parent, I want them to see what I'm doing," said Smith.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the Colorado Dental Examiners Board have policies that say restraints should be used only when absolutely necessary, for uncooperative kids, and should not injure them.

But 9NEWS learned that Medicaid in some states pays extra each time a dentist puts a child in a papoose board.

Drs. Ed and Michael Derose and William Mueller would not tell 9NEWS how often they use papoose boards in each of their respective clinics.

So 9NEWS used open records laws to obtain and analyze state Medicaid bills.

9NEWS learned in all other clinics across the state, dentists use papoose boards, on average, 4 percent of the time.

But at Mueller's 'Medicaid Dental Center' and the Deroses' 'Smile High Dentistry', their dentists put 21 percent of kids in restraints. In the year 2001-2002, those two clinics used papoose boards more than 2,500 times.

The cost to taxpayers for those papoose boards at four of their clinics; $106,473.

Karen Reinerston of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, thinks that is excessive.

"You shouldn't have to have a kid restrained all the time," she said. "I think it's very scary for the child."

Last year, Reinerston stopped Colorado dentists from charging Medicaid for restraints.

Dr. Mueller sent 9NEWS an e-mail saying he did not personally treat any of the children in the story.

Mueller also said he is not responsible for the care provided by other dentists in his clinics, because they work under contract and practice under their own licenses.

Matthew "Matt" Chemath Nolen

6400 E Thomas Rd., #3025
Scottsdale, AZ    85251 
AZ Dental Lic: D05399
Issued: 5-15-2001
Revoked: 6-30-2004

3 Must Read Comments:

toni said...

My son was seen by the Dentish Dr. Michael Derose in Pueblo Colorado back in 2000. The dentist went to visit him at the head start and said he needed work done at that time which included 5 caps and 2 baby root canals. I did not understand this. I took him to another dentist who said he needed to be seen in Pueblo by this dentist because my son would not sit still and let him look at his teeth. i took him to Pueblo for his visit and waited for about 3- 4 hours while my son was taken to the back for work on his teeth. Before he went in I asked started to follow the dentist and my son to the back and he said that parents were not to go to the back because it made it harder for them to work on the children. He said we will look at his teeth and if we have any questions we will come back and talk to you. I was getting really impatient and went to the side of the building where my car was parked to get something from the car. I heard this child screaming from the other side of the wall. He was screaming in pain. I stopped to listen by putting my ear to the outside of the wall and realized it was my son. You can tell they were hurting him by the crys he was making. He was screaming. A few times it sounded like they would cover his mouth so that he would not scream. I hurt him gag like he was choking. I immediately went and got my husband to come and listen too. I went inside and asked the receptionist to check on my son. She came back and said that the doctor said he was fine he was just upset because they had to hold him down. I waited a little longer and the doctor came out to talk to me and let me know what was done. He said that my son had gotten sick because of the crying he did and the medicine they used. When my little boy came out he was sweating and could barely talk and said Dr.hurt, dr hurt. My son was still in the process of learning how to talk at that time. The whole time driving home he cried and said dr. hurt me dr hurt me. He could not even eat. he was supposed to return to have more work done but I never took him back. Recently i looked in the paper and saw that this dentist was completing unnecessary work on children with medicaid and hurting them. I was so upset and angry because my son was being hurt for no reason and I could not be back there for him. They are making this man pay 10million back to the government. Why is he not charged with abuse on a child? He hurt these children and traumatized them.

Anonymous said...

Dr. George C. Brain, the 'Nazi Dentist' Tacoma, WA

Dr Brain is a very poor excuse for a child dentist. We have an non verbal autistic son and he kept pressuring us to 'trust him' and 'let him cap all of his teeth to prevent future issues'. We had bad feelings when he refused to xray his teeth but yet want to just cap his teeth. We pulled our son from Mary Bridge in Tacoma, not allowing him to touch our child. This guy is like an old World War II Nazi Doctor. There is a reason he has been on KIRO and King 5 news. He is defrauding DSHS I'm sure. Stay away from this creepy, Nazi dentist. Just watch the Movie " The Dentist" then you will know. B E W A R E stay away from the 'Nazi Dentist'.

FluorideNews said...

DeRose is at it again:

Trauma at the Dentist: 'They Took My Son's Smile Away'

Former Employee of Pediatric Dental Chain Says 'the Screams Are Blood-Curdling'

March 6, 2009

DeRose declined to speak with ABC News on camera, but his Colorado home speaks volumes. It's a lavish, seven-bath, 12,000-square-foot residence complete with a pool, a hot tub and a big new extension that'll house a dance studio and a personal gym.

DeRose made a fortune after he and his partners sold another chain of dental clinics called Small Smiles two years ago for $300 million. Now sources say that some of those 70 clinics operating in 22 states have also had problems.