Dental Medicaid fraud costs the government — and thus taxpayers — enormous sums of money each year. But a recent news story revealed that other serious and painful consequences can result from dental fraud. New Jersey dentist Paresh Patel delayed the identification of children who died in a South Plainfield fire because he presented authorities with falsified dental records that the authorities needed to identify the bodies. Why would a dentist obstruct the authorities in this way, not to mention bring additional pain to the family of his patients?
It seems that Dr. Patel had filed false claims against Medicaid for dental services that were never performed. Instead, the dental records were falsified to make it appear that the work had been done. Because of the falsified records, it took New Jersey authorities two weeks to identify two of the children that died in this tragic fire, delaying the release of their bodies and adding to the family’s pain.
Dr. Patel, who owns Healthy Dental Associates LLC, has been accused of Medicaid fraud because he allegedly submitted at least five false claims for dental services, totaling over $1,000. He is charged with five counts of healthcare fraud. The records were allegedly falsified in April and May of 2011, when Dr. Patel allegedly billed Medicaid for dental procedures that were never performed.
Dental fraud is a serious problem in this country. Dentists may submit false claims to Medicaid for medically unnecessary, and often painful, procedures. Or, as in this case, they may submit claims to Medicaid for dental work that is not performed at all, and records may be falsified in an attempt to conceal the fraud. As this case shows, in addition to costing the taxpayers money for fraudulent claims against the government, such wrongdoing can have unexpected and terrible consequences.
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 health care and dental fraud cases. Contact us or call our attorneys at 800.226.9880 to learn more about our practice and how we can assist.