Mass. dentist to return $500K to state Medicaid program

A Massachusetts pediatric dentist will return $500,000 to the state's Medicaid program for improperly billed palliative care, according to the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.

Annie Watson, DDS, and her practice, Gentle Smiles in Springfield, are alleged to have improperly billed MassHealth, the state's Medicaid program, for emergency pain treatment between March 2010 and June 2013. The claim also states that the practice failed to comply with MassHealth rules on the use of the emergency treatment billing code.

The attorney general's investigation began after MassHealth identified Dr. Watson as the top biller of the palliative care code among the program'ss dental providers. Dr. Watson was found to have routinely billed for palliative care without providing supporting documentation, including when patients received only cleanings and x-rays.

Under the terms of the civil settlement, Dr. Watson and her practice will pay MassHealth $500,000 as restitution. Dr. Watson and her employees are also required to review and comply with all applicable state and federal statutes, as well as all regulations for participating in the MassHealth program.

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