Judge orders $1.3M in Medicaid funds returned to dentist

A Texas judge has ordered the state to return $1.3 million that was withheld from Harlingen Family Dentistry (HFD) based on unfounded allegations of fraud on orthodontic Medicaid billings.

Travis County Judge Amy Clark Meachum has granted a petition to force the state's Office of Inspector General (OIG) to return money to the south Texas dental provider, according to a press release.

The OIG issued a payment hold in September 2011 against HFD, claiming there was a "credible allegation of fraud" against the practice's orthodontic billings. The OIG withheld the funds from HFD from September 2011 through February 2013.

Earlier this year, administrative law judges from both the state Office of Administrative Hearings and the Health and Human Services Commission agreed with HFD, saying the OIG could not show the basic elements of fraud regarding HFD's Medicaid orthodontic billings.

Harlingen Family Dentistry is based in Harlingen and includes 13 dentists and 130 staff.

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