Tuesday, May 31, 2011

VA infection issues lead to 13,000 veteran’s tests

May 29, 2011 4:10 PM CDT Sunday,
May 29, 2011 5:10 PM EST

Associated Press

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Herman Williams came home safely after fighting in the jungles of Vietnam as a Marine. He was shocked to learn four decades later that his military service had again placed him in jeopardy - this time, because he got a tooth pulled.

Williams is among 13,000 U.S. veterans who have been warned in the last two years that their blood should be tested for potentially fatal infections after possible exposures by improper hygiene practices at five VA hospitals in Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee. This Memorial Day finds the Department of Veterans Affairs under political fire and numerous veterans upset after enduring fear and uncertainty over their health.


Texas has 33% less population but spends 10 times more than California on orthodontic care. Please Explain!


California  Population   36,961,664
Texas Population         24,782,302  
Difference                   12,179,362

  • Texas has 12.1 million less  people than California.  That is 33% less people. 
  • California's total budget for orthodontic (braces) care for children on Medicaid is $19 million.
  • Texas spent $184 million on Orthodontics for children on Medicaid in 2010.
  • Texas spent 9.68 times, almost 10 times as much of their tax dollars on 33% less people! 

How do you explain this!

How do you explain how one Texas dentist, all by himself, was paid $22 million.  This is 1.16 times as much as the entire state of California has budgeted!  One dentist!!

Yes, Carlos Navarro, and his Orthodonix center brought home 1.16 times as much of your tax dollars as the whole state of California used.

Texas Citizens Picking Up Tab for Unnecessary Orthodontics

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Get your bonus here!

“Centers that achieved business performance bonuses must verify Compliance criteria, A/R criteria, and supply budget criteria.”

I have a whole lot of problems with the above.  Don’t you?  First, even having a bonus program structured on production breaks all Compliance criteria!!!!  Get this, they are starting a pilot program in one of the Ohio clinics to base the hygienist pay on production.

Second, is the “supply budget criteria”.  This is where they don’t change rubber gloves, reuse disposable nose pieces for the Nitrous.  Like use only 3 a day!!  This is where the tubes used for suction, which are also disposable, are reused throughout the day!  This is where the infection starts and this is where this shit needs to end!

Dr. Mazorow to retired after killing second patient-Marissa Kingery


It’s a damn shame he’s retiring and not having his dental licenses revoked as it should be.


Friday May 27, 2011

ELYRIA — Dr. Henry Mazorow, the dentist performing oral surgery when a 13-year-old patient became ill and later died, has announced he will voluntarily retire from practicing effective Sept. 1.

Marissa Kingery died from the lack of oxygen to the brain, Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office spokesman Powell Caesar said. Powell could not provide further comment about the results, but did say the death was accidental.

Kingery, of Elyria, was having baby teeth removed in Mazorow’s office on Dec. 21, 2010, when she was rushed to Mercy Regional Medical Center. She was later taken to Rainbow Babies and Childrens Hospital in Cleveland and placed on life support, but never recovered. She died Jan. 3.

Mazorow, who has an office at 209 W. 21st St., Lorain, appeared before the Ohio State Dental Board this week and announced he would be retiring, according to dental board records. While his official retirement date is set for Sept. 1, he has also agreed to limit his dental practice by not administering any form of general anesthesia or conscious sedation to any patient in the interim.

According to the voluntary retirement form, Mazorow made the decision to retire last month.

Mazorow announced he would stop using general anesthesia in January following Kingery’s death, his attorney Ron Mingus has said. Mingus could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mazorow has been practicing since 1956. There are no disciplinary actions on his record.

Mazorow’s office declined comment yesterday.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Miciah Bonzani - Another Teenager Dies During Dental Treatment

Miciah Bonzani 05072011
update: May 28, 2011

The dentist’s who killed Miciah Bonzani May 4, 2011 was Dr. Raymond Seitz and had been Miciah's dentist for 12 years.

It was just the dentist and his receptionist that worked in the office do this procedure.
Miciah's sister had her wisdom teeth removed the month prior to Miciah.  According to her , there were no monitors, no pulse/ox, no heart monitor and she didn't recall seeing an Automated External Difibulator (AED)/Crash cart of any kind.   

Question still remain as to whether CPR was even performed on Miciah until the paramedics arrived.

On Angie's List, it says "Surgery is not performed at this site"
Dr. Raymond Seitz, DMD
General Dentist
2797 Leechburg Rd
Lower Burrell PA 15068
According to Dr. Raymond Seitz he carries a Anesthesia Permit-Restricted II license.

Here is the application for a Restricted II license in Pennsylvania:  Application. 
According the the Restricted II license Dr. Raymond Seitz is only allowed to administrate Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas), nothing more!!

A fundraiser is being held July 9, 2011:
 Visit the Miciah Bonzani Memorial Run facebook page by clicking here.

There is another child death for 2011, I believe that makes 4 so far.  Miciah Bonzani from outside Pittsburgh died May 5, 2011.  Story plus video at the link below.
New Kensington Teenager Dies Unexpectedly - News Story - WPXI Pittsburgh
I will be updating when I can dig up more details. 
Prayers to her and her family. 
God help us!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Know your ABC’s-Small Smiles Office Managers being rated, promoted and/or fired.

Are you a Small Smiles office manager?  I’m told you are being graded as we speak.

A’s – you will get a promotion and be called a “Practice Administrator”, I know your dentists are going to love you even more.

B’s- you will be promoted to A’s.

C’s- expect termination

Don’t waste your time and call HR – Brandon Dyson, he’s resigned I’m told.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Texas "Chop Shops"

Below is a report from WFAA-TV reporter Byron Harris on illegal dental clinics in Texas. But it's not just "chop shops" like these that are operating illegally,just about every corporate owned clinic in Texas is illegal in one way or another.

Report Byron Harris
May 20, 2011

Illegal dentistry entrenched in North Texas
MESQUITE - Illegal dentistry performed by unlicensed dentists used to happen in back rooms with makeshift equipment, where vulnerable customers gambled on low-quality care.

While the problems with quality are still there, what used to be an underground business is becoming an entrenched business.

Illegal dentistry is now an institution, with thriving permanent clinics practically daring authorities to take action.

Just off Central Expressway in Richardson, a neon "open" sign blinks for new customers. Inside, a dentist from Coahuila, Mexico requires cash up front, even though she's not licensed to practice in Texas or the United States.

In Mesquite, smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood, a three-bedroom house has been an established clinic for five years. It has security fencing, a parking lot and surveillance cameras - in part to insure the safety of the all-cash business. Inside, there are three dentist chairs and patients say at least one X-ray machine.

The property is owned by Rogelio Esparza. His brother, Arturo, said he is a dentist in Mexico, but does not practice here. That does not account for a bag of what appeared to be dental waste found in the parking lot.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Former Compliance Officer for Small Smiles Dental Centers, Allison Luke, is on the hunt for a J O B.


Post Job Free resume.

In case anyone needs to know anything about her:

ALLISON K. LUKE, JD, CHC *** *th Avenue N. #***
Nashville, TN 37203
(404)***-**** (mobile)
Primary Areas of Expertise
All aspects of healthcare compliance, generally, and strong knowledge of federal and state laws and regulations affecting healthcare providers, facilities and systems, including Federal and State False Claims Acts, Federal Anti-kickback and Stark laws, Medicare and Medicaid Regulations, HIPAA, and others;
Corporate compliance program development and implementation, including Corporate Integrity Agreement implementation; compliance investigations, resolutions, and development/implementation of corrective action plans; development of compliance audit programs, including creation of audit tools, and determination of audit criteria and implementation of compliance audits; policy development and training for healthcare providers; and
Representation of hospitals, healthcare systems, home health agencies, dental practices, and other healthcare providers in compliance investigations before federal and state authorities.


Some dentists reluctant to treat kids on Medicaid

I don’t know why, other than they have not been reading this blog!  Otherwise they would know exactly how to set it up!


May 23, 2011
Dentists Reluctant To Treat Kids On Medicaid, by Maureen Salamon HealthDay Reporter

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dental mills concentrated with nitrous oxide, are you in danger-yes; your children-yes, them too.


There is a problem with high levels of exposure to Nitrous Oxice.  Two studies done along with the ADA showed a higher incidence of hepatic, renal and neuralgic disorders among exposed personnel.  More importantly it showed an increase in spontaneous abortions in chairside assistants and the wives of dentists.  It also showed an increase in congenital abnormalities in children of assistants.  These two studies pointed to a problems for females who were pregnant and working in dental offices where nitrous oxide was used.
Cohen et al., 1980; Brodsky et al., 1981

In another study, Swedish midwives exposed to nitrous oxide showed they had trouble getting pregnant if they were exposed to Nitrous Oxide more than 30 times a month. G Axelsson, G Ahlborg, Jr, L Bodin Occup Environ Med. 1996 June; 53(6): 374–378.

Adverse Effects of Nitrous Oxide

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mom of 6 year-old, Jacobi Hill, Plans to Sue VCU Medical Center


Mom of 6 year-old Plans to Sue VCU Medical Center - wtvr

RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) - The mother of a 6-year-old boy who died after a dental procedure last May says she plans to sue VCU.

"People say it gets easier day by day. No, it doesn't", says Crystal Lewis.
One year later, Lewis, the mother of 6 year-old Jacobi Hill still wonders why a simple dental procedure killed her son.

"It's always going to be a question in the back of my mind like, what happened, but I guess we'll never know until I get to the bottom of things", she says.

An Intelligible Principle To Restrain Unelected Government Officials


An Intelligible Principle To Restrain Unelected Government Officials

Leave out the adjectives and adverbs and it’s informative and shows exactly what is happening from Congress all the way down to your local City Counsel, stopping at state agencies and boards, like your state Dental Board, along the way.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Jenny Olenick died in April. Here is a statement sent to us from Jenny’s mother on May 14, 2011

"During the April 17 Celebration of Jenny's life I told the young people present not to worry about having dental procedures because Jenny's death was a freak accident.
That's what I truly thought at the time. But after learning there are at least 8 other children in the nation who have died as a result of dental procedures in US dental offices within the past 1 1/2 years, I no longer see this as a "freak" accident.
I now look at dental office-related deaths as relatively common, and believe these are needless deaths that could have been prevented.

These children did not have to die. And if we wish to honor these childrens' memories, we need to make certain not one more child dies as a result of having a procedure done in a dentist's office".
Cathy Garger, Mother of Jenny Olenick.

17 year old Jenny Olenick dead during oral surgery–April 6, 2011–Freak Accident? Not anymore!
(written Thursday May 12, 2011, prior to receiving the statement from Jenny’s mom.  Blogger was down and was not able to post until today.)

Marriottsville, Maryland

Jennifer Michelle Olenick died April 6, 2010. Jenny went into a coma on March 28, 2011 during a wisdom tooth extraction being performed by Dr. Domenick Coletti.

When the dental community is averaging killing one child a month, it’s not a freak accident!
Answers sought in dental surgery death of Howard County teen
Jennifer-Olenick-April-6-2011_thumb2By Kellie Woodhouse kwoodhouse@patuxent.com
The state Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating the death of a 17-year-old Marriotts Ridge High School junior, who died last week after complications arose during routine wisdom tooth surgery.

Jennifer “Jenny” Michelle Olenick, of Woodstock, an aspiring professional singer, went to a Columbia oral surgeon on March 28 for a tooth extraction procedure and went into cardiac arrest during surgery, her mother said.

She was taken by ambulance to Howard County General Hospital and then flown to Johns Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore, where she died 10 days later, on April 6.

Cathy Garger, Olenick’s mother, said her daughter’s sudden death was baffling.

“Her heart tests at Hopkins showed normal functioning of her heart. She was in the best of health,” said Garger, who accompanied her daughter to the surgery with Olenick’s father, John Olenick.

Dr. Domenick Coletti, the Columbia-based oral surgeon who performed the operation with the assistance of an anesthesiologist, said he was “deeply saddened” by Olenick’s death.

Texas Citizens Picking Up The Tab for Unnecessary Orthodontics


Bio | Email 

DALLAS — Nobody has ever died from crooked teeth, some orthodontists say. 

Historically, straightening teeth with braces is viewed largely as a cosmetic procedure, done for cosmetic purposes.

Yet, last year, Texas taxpayers paid for braces for more than 120,000 children under Medicaid. The total bill was more than $184 million, which was far more than the next 10 states combined.

A News 8 investigation found that Navarro Orthodontix, which controls 11 clinics across the state, was paid more than $22 million in Medicaid last year. That's more than the entire state of California, which paid out $19.4 million.

All told, Texas paid out over $184 million for Medicaid orthodontics last year, which is nearly double the amount from 2008. The money is supposed to go for teeth determined to be so crooked they could handicap a child, usually between the ages of 12 and 19 according to state rules. Judging by the increased payouts, the teeth of Texas children are growing more crooked each year.

"There's a large population of people that are somehow qualifying for Medicaid treatment that seven years ago weren't qualifying," said Dr. Greg Greenberg, a Dallas orthodontist.

While the worsening economy has put more kids into poverty, it's also true that orthodontics is booming.

On Garland Road in Dallas, two clinics are paired off like gas stations across from one another. All Smiles Dental sits directly across the street from the Smiley Dental Clinic. Smiley's vans, used to pick up patients, prominently display "Medicaid Accepted" in their bright yellow paint scheme.

Last year, Smiley took in nearly $2 million in Medicaid through its affiliates in North Texas. All Smiles collected $7.5 million. Together, the two chains collected more than twice as much as the entire state of Illinois paid out last year.

In Tarrant and Parker counties, doctors Sheila Birth and Charles Stewart run six offices, and like all the clinics mentioned in this story, they employ several orthodontists. All told, they collected more than $5 million in Medicaid last year, according to state records. That's twice as much as all the providers in the state of Florida.

Birth declined to be interviewed on camera for this story. In e-mails, she pointed out that a lawsuit in Texas forced the state to expand its Medicaid coverage in 2007, and that states have differing criteria for Medicaid reimbursement, which makes comparison inappropriate.

Texas was successfully sued over Medicaid underpayment, dental care included, but orthodontic care was not part of the lawsuit. Texas specifically prohibits Medicaid reimbursement for cosmetic orthodontic care

Critics say the state simply doesn't evaluate claims.

"There's no accountability," said Dr. Larry Tadlock, an orthodontist with a private practice who's also an associate professor at Baylor Dental School in Dallas.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Leesburg Virginia couple charged for practicing dentistry without a license


Posted at 11:48 AM ET, 05/13/2011

Leesburg couple accused of illegal dentistry

By Maria Glod

A Loudoun couple who allegedly ran a dental office in the basement of their Leesburg home have been charged with practicing dentistry without a license, officials said.

Nelson A. Castro-Diaz, 47, and Matilde A. Lindarte-Vargas, 35, had a full-service office in their home in the 1200 block of Tennessee Drive that included a dental chair, waiting room and a receptionist desk, according to Loudoun Sheriff’s officials. Authorities said the office catered to the Latino community.

The couple told investigators they had worked as dentists in their native country, according to sheriff’s spokesman Kraig Troxell. Troxell said he didn’t know what country the couple were from.

Castro-Diaz and Lindarte-Vargas were released on their own recognizance, authorities said.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Small Smiles Dental Center wants to put my child to sleep for dental treatment-Good idea?


I can’t answer that. 

But I can tell you that the nasal spray of “midazolam” along with nitrous oxide gas- inhalation sedation (IHS) - was studied on 100 children between the ages of 3 and 13, who were originally referred for “general anesthesia” and 96% of the required dental treatment was completed successfully.  There was no need for general anesthesia and parents were present with the children during the procedure. 

The National Institute of Health recommends this technique instead of Dental General Anesthesia. (DGA)

You can read the study for yourself here:
The safety and efficacy of intranasal midazolam se... [SAAD Dig. 2010] - PubMed result

Of course skilled dentists and staff as well as life saving equipment and medication is a must! 

I can tell you general anesthesia is close to death, and I’ve lost count of the number of children who have died in the last two years. (8) and rising.

I can tell you seven studies of Inhalation sedation, using nothing but nitrous oxide (along with local numbing), without the nasal spray have taken place.  These studies also used children who had been referred for general anesthesia.

The studies were reported to have a “remarkable degree of consistency in the reported treatment effectiveness despite other differences in patients”. 

What were the results? 

Monday, May 09, 2011

No more secret meetings and backroom deals for health care professionals who screw up in Washington state

Washington State HB 1493–Signed Into Law April 22, 2011, Effective July 22, 2011

HB 1493 - 2011-12

What is it?

It provides greater transparency into health professional’s disciplinary actions taken by state licensing boards, such as the Washington State Department of Health Dental Board


HB - 1493

  • ŸAllows a complainant in a disciplinary proceeding under the Uniform Disciplinary
  • Act to supplement the contents of his or her complaint.
    Requires a disciplining authority to promptly respond to inquiries regarding the status of a complaint.
  • Requires a disciplining authority to provide a complainant with the file relating to the complaint.
  • Requires a disciplining authority to allow a complainant to submit an oral or written victim impact statement.
  • Requires a disciplining authority to inform the complainant with a report on the complaint's final disposition.
  • Allows the complainant to make a request for reconsideration of the disciplining authority's decision.

HB 1493 – Analysis

The Original Bill – 1.5 Simple Straightforward pages of meaningful legislation

The Final Bill – Instead of watering down it seems to have been strengthened

The Bill had NO impact on the state budget.  None.  Nada.

There was a substitute bill presented by the Senate.  Compared to the Original Bill:

  • Allowed the license holder to respond to any supplemental information submitted by the complainant.
  • Required the disciplining authority to promptly respond to status inquiries by the license holder (in addition to the complainant).
  • Required the disciplining authority to provide a copy of the file to the license holder (in addition to the complainant).
  • Changed "victim impact statement" to "impact statement."
  • Limited the circumstances in which the complainant may request reconsideration to situations in which (a) there has been no statement of charges or allegations and (b) there is new information relating to the original complaint or report.
  • Required the disciplining authority to notify the license holder of any request for reconsideration and allows the license holder to respond.

On March 1, 2011 the Third reading of the bill took place in the House and a vote was called.  Twenty-nine (29) representatives voted no, all Republican.

They are:

Gary Alexander - R
Jan Angel - R
Mike Armstrong - R
Katrina Asay - R
Barbara Bailey - R
Vincent Buys -R
Cary Condotta - R
Larry Crouse - R
Bruce Dammeier - R
Richard DeBolt - R
Susan Fagan - R
Larry Haler - R
Mark Hargrove -R
Paul Harris - R
Norm Johnson - R
Brad Klippert - R
Joel Kretz - R
Dan Kristiansen - R
Jim McCune - R
Jason Overstreet - R
Kevin Parker - R
Kirk Pearson - R
Charles Ross - R
Matt Shea - R
Joe Schmick - R
Shelly Short - R
Norma Smith - R
David Taylor  - R
Hans Zeiger - R
Bill Hinkle - R was “excused”


By April 7, it was voted on by the Senate.   One “Lone Ranger” Senator voted no.  Who you ask?  That would be Senator Doug Ericksen (R) of Washington state.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Another Teenager Dies During Dental Treatment

Miciah Bonzani 05072011There is another child death for 2011, I believe that makes 4 so far.  Miciah Bonzani from outside Pittsburgh died May 5, 2011.  Story plus video at the link below.
New Kensington Teenager Dies Unexpectedly - News Story - WPXI Pittsburgh
I will be updating when I can dig up more details. 
Prayers to her and her family. 
God help us!

Small Smiles Dental Centers: Reporting of Adverse Events

The Corporate Integrity Agreement requires Church Street Health Management to self report what is referred to as “Reportable Events” that take place at their Small Smiles Dental Centers across the US. 
What is a “Reportable Event” as seen by Small Smiles Dental Clinics:
  1. Billing that would generate more than $4000 in overbilling – Keep erroneous or any fraudulent bilking billing under that mark and they are good to go.  Is that per child?  Could also be defined as a matter that a reasonable person would consider a probable violation of civil, criminal or administrative law applicable to federal health care programs . Or a matter that a reasonable person would consider likely to render CSHM insolvent.
  2. Quality of Care Reportable Event– Adverse Events (AE).  These are a bit more difficult to define, since they are in the eyes of the beholder.  Basically anything that involves a violation of the obligation to provide items or services of a quality that meets professionally recognized standards of care.  In my opinion, that would include unlocking the door to any of the now, 72 clinics. The great White Paper King, Steven Adair is making those decisions.  Not a good choice in my opinion.  What is his pay based on?   Does he get a “production” bonus too? It may be that these are only events reported that cause a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) to be initiated.  What is a CAP, you ask?  Well, it could be a simple letter of instruction to the treating dentist/staff member,  a DVD for them to watch, or further training that they decide will do.
  3. Event that would cause law enforcement to be notified–  I wonder if that means local law enforcement or the Feds?  You know what I mean, a dentist punches a patient in the face or staff forges names and signatures on documents?  Could also be defined as a matter that a reasonable person would consider a probable violation of civil, criminal or administrative law applicable to federal health care programs .  Again I feel that unlocking the doors on these houses of horrors should be criminal since I promise something illegal happens in each one of them everyday.
If CSHM doesn’t correct the billing within 30 days or

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Don Meyer–Rubin Meyer Communication

rubinmeyerIf  you read much or post complaints about Church Street Health Management (CSHM) and their illegal dental clinics, Small Smiles Dental, you are bound to run across the name Don Meyer at some point.

Mr. Meyer is their talking headlindleyonrubinmeyer, spin doctor, public relation person at Rubin Meyer Communicaiton, founded in 2007. The sweet page they have set up especially for CSHM is here.

So who is Don Meyer?  Well according to Source Watch, he helped craft the Pentagon’s Public Affairs strategy on September 11, 2001 after the WTC attacks.  “Meyer devised public affairs tactics to support military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq.” 

In May 2004 he left Donald Rumsfeld side and returned to H&K (Hill & Knowlton as VP.  Meyer worked to promote the United Arab Emirates owned company, Dubia International Capital.  Funny how he now promotes another Arab company, Arcapita who owns the CSHM/Small Smiles Dental Centers.  He also spent 6 years on Capital Hill.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

No surprise - Congress blocks midlevel dental providers


May 3, 2011

Congress Blocks Midlevel Dental Healthcare Provider Projects

No big surprise is it?  Midlevel care providers were simply out lobbied.

Full Medscape Story:

May 3, 2011 — After making strides in recent years, advocates for midlevel oral health provider programs ran into setbacks this year in both state legislatures and the US Congress.

The law allocating spending for the US government through September 30, 2011, prohibits spending on alternative oral health provider pilot programs, and some bills in state legislatures have stalled or died in committee in recent months.

Much of this legislation has pitted hygienists associations and oral health foundations against the largest organizations of dentists.

At the national level, proponents are pushing to fund the "alternative dental health care providers demonstration projects" authorized by last year's healthcare reform law. President Barack Obama has asked Congress to fund 6 such programs with $800,000 each in 2012.

The midlevel providers in these pilot programs could be community dental health coordinators, advance practice dental hygienists, independent dental hygienists, supervised dental hygienists, primary care physicians, dental therapists, or dental health aides.

They would be evaluated for their ability to "increase access to dental health care services in rural and other underserved communities."

Congress debated funding the pilot programs while working on the continuing resolution that allocated money for the US government through September, but in the end they specifically prohibited such funding.

In a written statement, American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) President Caryn Solie, RDH, said her organization was working with "more than 60 others" to get the funding for 2012 "and beyond."

"ADHA is disappointed with the inclusion of a provision in the Continuing Resolution prohibiting funding for the Alternative Dental Health Care Provider Demonstration Grants this year," she said.

She argued that the programs would allow hygienists to help Americans who currently are not able to get oral healthcare.

The American Dental Association (ADA), in contrast, has lobbied against the pilot programs. "We have a long-standing position against any pilots for any program that involves nondentists doing irreversible procedures," said Matthew J Neary, DDS, a New York City periodontist who chairs the ADA's Council on Governmental Affairs.

He said there are better ways to improve access to oral health, such as preventive health programs and dental residency programs in underserved communities.

The ADA does support one model of new oral healthcare provider: the community dental health coordinator, trained to help people in underserved communities navigate through the healthcare system, Dr. Neary said.

However, that proposal falls short of a new practitioner "midlevel" between a hygienist and a dentist, as advocated by the ADHA and some activist groups.

"The more professionals look into folks' mouths and provide education the better, but the fact is that folks need treatment," said David Jordan, director of the Dental Access Project of Community Catalyst.

With funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Community Catalyst is organizing coalitions in 5 states to advocate for midlevel providers who can prepare and place fillings and extract teeth, in addition to doing educational and preventive work.

Such providers — dental health aide therapists — are already doing this kind of work in Alaska through a federal program for indigenous people, and dental therapists are also being trained along similar lines in Minnesota as a result of a 2009 law.

Community Catalyst supports new dental therapist legislation in 5 other states, Jordan said. He gave the following overview of state legislation:

  • Kansas: A dental therapist bill is under consideration in both the state House of Representatives (HB 2280) and the (Senate SB 192).
  • Washington: HB 1310 is stalled in the House of Representatives Healthcare and Wellness Committee and is unlikely to be heard until next session.
  • New Mexico: HB 495 bill died in the business committee of the House of Representatives.
  • Vermont: HB 398 is in the House of Representatives Human Services Committee, but is unlikely to be heard until next year.
  • Ohio: A bill has not yet come to the legislature, but on April 27 a public opinion poll funded by Catalyst showed two thirds of Ohio voters in favor of starting a dental therapist program in that state.

Although the group could not claim any clear victories, "We're happy that there was attention, and the need was brought to light," said Jordan.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Corporate Dentistry–A history

One of the major birth places for corporate dentistry is Texas.  Around 1995, Texas allowed managed care programs or HMO's.  The  insurance companies quickly created and sold these dental programs to employers.  However, there was one big problem.  General dentists would not sign up to be a provider because the fees were too low and the dentist would be forced to do "managed neglect" not "managed care". 

The insurance companies, primarily Aetna, decided that they could establish needed offices by guaranteeing a monthly income to a practice in Aetna's preferred location.  There were a couple of dentists in Texas who took them up on the offer. 

They did stock offerings and corporate dentistry was born in Texas even though it was and is still illegal. This relationship continues today.

Under these corporate practices, the insurance companies lists the dental provider as the corporate entity, not a licensed dentist.  Under your HMO dental plan, if you call for your free or low fee cleaning, you are told there is a one to two year waiting list.  If you complain to the Dental Board, their response is they only control licensed dentists not corporate practices. 

If you go in for an exam, you are suddenly told you need hundreds to thousands of dollars worth of work, much of which is barely covered by insurance. The dental work may not even be needed.  Check the complaints on Monarch Dental as an example.  You would think the Dental Board would have stopped the damage by now.

The insurance companies will try to further enhance their profits by using these offices to keep costs low in this economy.  In this economy employers are dropping their PPO dental insurance for the cheaper HMO policies.  Dental insurance companies can then assign these PPO patients, who use to have freedom to chose their dentist, to these corporate offices.  Dental insurance is always beneficial to the insurance companies..  It is non catastrophic unlike health insurance.  It is rarely cost effective for the insured.

Medicaid in the corporate practice has been a recent addition.  Mainly because state and federal agencies have allowed them to see Medicaid patients when it is against many of the state laws. 

To stop the corporate practice of dentistry, you must stop the dental insurance companies from funding it.  Can you imagine the potential liability of assigning and paying insurance monies to illegal corporate practices? 

They are fully aware of the liability, however, to date no one has challenged them.  The potential liability was mentioned to one national dental director now that the public is waking up and complaining.  He is in the process of having the actuaries calculate what it will take to convert the HMO policies to in-network PPOs.
Bottom line is that the economy and media exposure like the Ortho story will cause Medicaid to begin to correct itself.  Medicaid was there before corporate dentistry and will be there after. However, the slow economy will fuel the insurance companies to want to foster more corporate dentistry. 

If litigation is contemplated, then the insurance companies have the most to lose.  There is no argument that they are guilty of paying illegal corporate practices and also have large potential antitrust violations. 
a Concerned Texas Dentist