Texas AG investigates dental chain

The Texas attorney general (AG) is investigating charges of Medicaid fraud against the Smile Center, a chain of dental clinics in San Antonio, according to a blog post on the WOAI-TV website.

A representative from the attorney general's office confirmed that its Medicaid fraud control unit removed 180 boxes of records from several Smile Center locations. In addition, the agency's civil Medicaid department has filed a complaint in civil court against the Smile Center.

Meanwhile, the Crosley Law Firm of San Antonio is gearing up to file a lawsuit against the Smile Center on behalf of the parents of 100 former patients. In some cases, the parents of these children believe that they have been victims of substandard dental care leading to injuries and requiring additional treatment, according to the law firm's website.

The law firm also alleges the following:

  • Many of the parents were approached in parking lots and lured into Smile Center with the promise of dental exams for their children at no out-of-pocket cost to them.

  • In most cases, the children were covered by Medicaid, and Smile Center would bill Medicaid directly. Often the dental care consisted of pulpotomies and the placement of stainless steel crowns.

  • For some clients, the dental work may have been unnecessary, and resulted in a large bill to Medicaid.

  • In some instances, the injuries caused from the dental care necessitated visits to the emergency room and/or hospitalization.

Stephen Simpton, DDS, owner of the Smile Center, has filed a defamation lawsuit against WOAI and one of its reporters, according to the WOAI blog.

An attorney for the Smile Center told WOAI that the attorney general's investigation is "a routine Medicaid audit."

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