Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dr. Arnel J.Gallanosa facing fraud charges in Indianapolis

Written by Bill McCleery

An Indianapolis dentist faces fraud charges stemming from an apparent scheme to perform unnecessary dental work in order to collect payment's from Indiana's Medicaid program.

In one case, for example, Arnel J. Gallanosa removed 33 teeth from three patients who were residents of Midtown St. George Residential Facility, said Brienne Delaney, spokeswoman for Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry.

The dentist also allegedly paid patients small kickback fees for agreeing to receive dental work.

"In an effort to garner more business for his dental practice," Delaney said in a release, "Dr. Gallanosa paid staff members and a 'runner' to recruit new patients who were eligible for Medicaid benefits. The patients would be offered five or ten dollars and 'free' dental work."

The Indiana Medicaid program reimbursed Gallanosa for the services, Delaney said, and patients would have no out-of-pocket costs.

The man hired as the runner for the three patients named in court documents previously pleaded guilty to felony prescription fraud in relation to this case. The runner, Darnell White, kept Vicodin pain pills that Gallanosa had prescribed to the three Midtown residents. He remains on probation, Delaney said, following his conviction.

"A licensed medical professional, such as a dentist, should inspire trust and respect," Curry said in a release. "It is thus particularly disturbing for a medical professional to abuse the trust of his patients and prey upon some of our most vulnerable citizens. We will vigorously prosecute any such fraud and abuse."

Working with police and prosecutors, the Indiana Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated the fraudulent Medicaid claims and alleged abuse of the patients in the St. George institution, Delaney said.

"The violation of vulnerable patients' trust alleged in this provider's brazen scheme victimized not only his patients, but also others who could have benefited from health services the stolen Medicaid funds could have provided," Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a prepared statement. "We thank Prosecutor Curry for filing felony charges to hold the defendant accountable."

Gallanosa now faces felony charges of Medicaid fraud, theft and conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud.

Call Star reporter Bill McCleery at (317) 444-6083.