Judge allows indicted dentists to resume practice

A federal judge in Texas has ruled that five dentists accused of Medicaid fraud can resume their practices, including treating Medicaid patients.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos initially barred five dentists -- state Rep. Tara Rios Ybarra, D.D.S., who owns a dental practice in Brownsville; Willis David Egger, D.D.S.; Diana Paparelli, D.D.S.; and Colbert Glenn, D.D.S., all of McAllen; and Reynaldo Casares D.D.S., of Mission -- from treating Medicaid patients for their alleged part in a $62,000 fraud scheme.

They were charged in June with multiple counts of taking kickbacks for referring Medicaid beneficiaries to oral surgeon Gary Morgan Schwarz, D.D.S., in exchange for 15% of the total payment made by Medicaid to Dr. Schwarz for all referred beneficiaries.

Initially, as part of her bond, Dr. Rios Ybarra was barred from treating Medicaid and Medicare patients. Her attorney argued that those patients were a vital part of her Brownsville dental practice, according to a story by KRGV.com

Barring the dentists from treating Medicaid patients could lead to a local shortage of qualified dental specialists and hurt the very people prosecutors hope to protect, argued said David Botsford, an attorney representing Dr. Glenn, according to a story in the Monitor.

Botsford asked a judge to allow the dentists to resume Medicaid billings as long as they stopped referring patients to Dr. Schwarz.

Dr. Schwarz, who operates the Valley Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in McAllen, is accused of conspiring with Renee L. Thornton, his office manager, and Magdalena Garza Cazares, his treatment coordinator and personal assistant, to file fraudulent Medicaid claims from January 2007 through April 2010.

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