Texas pediatric practice shuts down after Medicaid cuts

A pediatric dental office in Austin, TX, is closing after state health investigators cut off Medicaid payments over fraud allegations.

Glenn Wood, MD, who owns Carousel Pediatrics, disputes the allegations and says the loss of payments is forcing him to shut down his dental affiliate, Trueblood Dental Associates, and lay off 40 staffers and six dentists, according to a story in the Austin American Statesman.

The loss of about $400,000 a month in Medicaid payments forced the closure of the clinic, which had served about 28,000 low-income pediatric patients, Dr. Wood said.

He will also be forced to close a related South Austin medical clinic because its finances were already stretched thin by a similar fight with state health officials over allegations that Carousel's medical practice had defrauded the state of $18 million, he said.

More than $343,000 in Medicaid payments have been withheld since spring in that ongoing investigation.

According to Dr. Wood, the dental penalty was in retaliation for his criticism of the $18 million fraud allegation by the Office of Inspector General, the investigative arm of the Health and Human Services.

A spokeswoman for the health commission said cutting Medicaid payments to offices with suspect billing is necessary to protect children and taxpayers. The agency has begun working with other Medicaid dental plans to ensure continued treatment for Trueblood Dental's patients.

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