A group of pediatric dentists in New Jersey and New York who were outed by a former worker for conducting medically unnecessary root canals on children agreed to pay more than $750,000 to settle charges against them, authorities in both states announced.
Formerly known as HQRC Management Services LLC, the targeted practice was run by dentist Barry L. Jacobson.
It included offices in Teaneck, Wyckoff, and Paterson in New Jersey and in the Bronx, Flushing, Valley Stream, Boro Park, Kingston, Monsey, Albany and Malone in New York, authorities said.
Jacobson and fellow dentists “performed unnecessary and invasive dental procedures on children to line their own pockets,” New York State Attorney General Letitia James said in a joint announcement with U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Philip Sellinger.
“It is unconscionable that medical professionals were willing to perform unnecessary dental procedures on children simply to make money,” Sellinger said in the joint release issued Thursday, Oct. 6.
Some of the dentists conducted root canals on children’s primary teeth, which ordinarily break through the gums when they’re from six months to 2½ years old and then fall out, replaced by permanent teeth beginning around age 6, both said.
Known as pulpotomies, the procedures involve removing the infected and damaged pulp from the upper part of the tooth and then capping it with a filling or crown, they explained.
Jacobson and his accomplices also “made billing errors on claims submitted to New York and New Jersey Medicaid contractors that resulted in inaccurate servicing provider information on claims for services performed at three of its locations,” a joint investigation by Sellinger’s office and James’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit found.
Most of the $753,457 settlement will go to the Medicaid programs in both states, according to James and Sellinger.
The whistleblower – who filed a lawsuit under the federal and New York false claims acts – will get $135,622 from the federal and state shares of the deal, they said.
Sellinger said that both he and James wanted to “make clear that this behavior is intolerable.”
“Recovering [the] ill-gotten gains only begins to undo [the] damage,” the U.S. attorney said.
Sellinger credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General and civil investigator Jeffrey DeFuria of his office with the New Jersey end of the investigation. Handling the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Pappy of his Health Care Fraud Unit.
PHOTO: Pediatric Dentistry of the Bronx (FACEBOOK)
Click here to follow Daily Voice Teaneck and receive free news updates.