July 16, 2012 — An Oklahoma City dentist has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of Medicaid fraud, reports the FBI website. Robin Lockwood, 44-years-old, entered the guilty plea earlier in July, according to U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, Sanford Coats. The dentist is expected to be sentenced in around 90 days. The charges of which Lockwood was accused could carry punishment of up to ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Lockwood had worked for the Ocean Dental clinic located at 1610 Southwest 74th Avenue in Oklahoma City. Ocean Dental is a chain of dental clinics built on a Medicaid model, focused on providing dental care to low-income children. Ocean Dental operates 34 clinics in seven states and also runs a Mobile Dental Unit in Tulsa, Oklahoma that provides dental care to children while they are at school.
In the case against Lockwood, prosecutors charged that from July 2007 to December 2010, she had recorded on patient charts that she had done dental restoration work that in truth had not been performed. In addition, Lockwood was alleged to have up-coded the work she did perform and to have used a billing code that would allow Medicaid to reimburse for services that actually are not covered by the program.
Based on those fraudulent dental charts, Ocean Dental then billed Oklahoma’s Medicaid program for the nonexistent work.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides funds for health care treatment to low-income individuals who could not otherwise receive treatment. Medicaid is administered in Oklahoma as “SoonerCare” by a state governmental agency, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA). Ocean Dental filed reimbursement claims with OHCA seeking payment for the dental work indicated on patient charts.
It was alleged that Ocean Dental reimbursed its dentists based on the treatment notes the dentists prepare regarding their patients. Lockwood allegedly was paid a percentage of the reimbursements Ocean Dental received from OHCA.
Many examples of Medicaid dental fraud are often revealed by dental clinic dentists and employees who are asked to participate in a fraudulent scheme or to keep quiet about it. By stepping forward to report such schemes, whistleblowers play an important part in holding wrongdoers accountable. To encourage whistleblowers to take that courageous step, the qui tam provisions of the federal False Claims Acts allow a whistleblower to share in any recovery by the government.
Waters & Kraus is a national firm with highly skilled lawyers practicing qui tam litigation in four offices, including Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Baltimore. Our attorneys have decades of experience successfully representing whistleblowers in a variety of fraud cases. Contact us or call our attorneys at 800.226.9880 to learn more about our practice and how we can assist.