Investigative journalism uncovers rampant false Medicaid claims in the dental industry
June 29, 2012 — It started with a news station investigation into Medicaid dental fraud claims in Texas. WFAA found that Texas spent a lot on Medicaid—more than the rest of the United States combined. The news team found that false claims for dental work against the Texas Medicaid program were rampant. The news investigation pointed to some specific dental practices as likely culprits, among them Dallas-area dentist Richard Malouf and the All Smiles dental chain. The Medicaid program has attempted to address this fraud, but the Texas AG is ready to hold some of the alleged perpetrators responsible.
In a False Claims Act lawsuit against Dr. Malouf and All Smiles, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has alleged that the dentist and his former dental practice filed millions in false claims against Medicaid for orthodontic procedures that were medically unnecessary, were performed by unqualified staff, or were billed by a higher rate than was appropriate under Medicaid guidelines. Dr. Malouf and All Smiles are accused or preying on poor families for their own gain. According to WFAA, the AG’s lawsuit seeks to collect twice the amount of the Medicaid overpayments to Dr. Malouf and All Smiles.
After WFAA ran a series of stories that implicated All Smiles and Dr. Malouf in widespread Medicaid fraud, Dr. Malouf and All Smiles have declared bankruptcy—despite having billed Medicaid for about $15 million over a two year period. Dr. Malouf and All Smiles alone filed claims for twice as much as dentists throughout the state of Illinois.
The Texas AG has also joined whistleblower suits against All Smiles and Dr. Malouf filed by a former employee of All Smiles and by orthodontist Dr. Christine Ellis, who also gave testimony about the fraud before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee. Dr. Ellis is represented by Waters & Kraus in one of the lawsuits, which have been unsealed and refiled in the state’s name.