Iowa dental chain settles Medicaid fraud claims

An Iowa dental clinic chain has agreed to pay Medicaid $300,000 to settle allegations that the company billed Medicaid for procedures that weren't performed, according to an article in the Des Moines Register.

A whistleblower lawsuit was filed in April in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa under the False Claims Act by two former employees of Lifepoint Dental Partners and federal prosecutors. The fraud allegations were made by the company's former chief financial officer (CFO) and a former financial coordinator, who claimed that a company vice president was billing Medicaid for services that were either not performed or performed at locations not approved by Medicaid.

While still employed at Lifepoint, the CFO had told the company president about the billing problems. He was later fired by the president, who accused him of failing to prevent fraud and embezzlement at the company. Afterward, the fired employee told Iowa Medicaid about his suspicions of fraud.

The other employee also was fired "for her efforts to investigate, call attention to and prevent defendants from continuing to engage in fraudulent activity, including making false claims to Medicaid," the suit states.

The settlement does not include an admission of wrongdoing by Lifepoint or its executives.

The two former employees who filed the lawsuit will receive $45,000 of the settlement.

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