Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Dentist charged with fraud is getting water park installed in backyard
He'll have a deep pool, a lazy river, and three water slides 30 to 35 feet tall.
DALLAS "Texas Drills Down on Medicaid Dental Fraud” (subscription required) was the headline from the Wall Street Journal. What do they mean by that? Why, maybe a blast from the past biz practices of people like Richard Malouf who is putting in a water park that one reader thinks we ought to christen “WaterPik Park” over on Strait Lane. His gates were wide open on Sunday as trucks heaved in the equipment, which is now sitting right in the front yard of what was once 10711 Strait Lane.
That is, as you know, the Family Sports World.
If any of you were as surprised as I was over this Medicaid deal — I mean, I know what Medicaid reimburses physicians for medical care and it is barely enough to cover the exam table paper in the office — it seems as though the problem stemmed from a 2007 civil lawsuit (that really started in 1993) that made the state increase reimbursement rates for Medicaid dental services:
“The suit, a federal class action filed by parents in 1993 against state officials, alleged Texas was failing in its duty to ensure that children on Medicaid received proper preventative care in dental and other areas. Eligibility for Children’s Medicaid in Texas is pegged to income. In 2007, Texas legislators agreed to settle, conceding that there was a dwindling number of doctors and dentists in the state willing to treat Medicaid patients and agreeing to increase Medicaid-reimbursement rates. A 2012 report by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform offered case studies in various states of supposed Medicaid abuse; it cited dental services in Texas as a particular problem area. By 2010, according to the report, Texas’ Medicaid program was spending more on braces than the other 49 state Medicaid programs spent combined on such orthotics.“
This is just what Byron Harris reported, and I wonder why the WSJ doesn’t mention his report. It has also, like always, resulted in the loss of services for kiddos who really need it: All Smiles Dental Professionals P.C., has shuttered 13 orthodontic offices in the Dallas area because of the investigation, leaving an estimated 12,000 Medicaid-eligible patients without care.
But hey, WaterPik Park is coming! Look at those slides just waiting to be installed! It’s only 6.5 million gallons of water, and Texas sure has plenty of that … right?
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