I WAS ALREADY AFRAID OF GOING TO THE DENTIST
In what has to be one of the more bizarre cases of alleged Medicaid fraud, a Florida dentist has been accused of needlessly pulling children’s teeth as part of a Medicaid fraud scheme. The case has not yet been litigated; however, 58 notices of intent to sue by angry patients are known to exist. As an example of the level of anger and frustration, protests were held outside the offices of Dr. Howard Schneider in Jacksonville. A Medicaid fraud investigation has been opened by the Florida Attorney General’s Office.
Information from news releases have indicated that the dentist has received $4 million in Medicaid reimbursements in the last five years. One parent who had no problem going “on the record” indicated that her six-year-old daughter underwent surgery at the dentist’s office resulting in the removal of seven of the child’s teeth.
The current media reports do not indicate how the information came to the attention of the Florida Attorney General, however, under the False Claims Act, Medicaid, Medicare and any other fraud against the federal government can be reported. The individual who provides the first, non-public information to the Department of Justice can be entitled to a reward based upon the amount of money recovered by the government. The individual reporting the fraud, called a “relator”, can be entitled to between 15% and 30% of the amount recovered by the federal or state government.
If you believe you know about fraud against the state or federal government, you should contact a qualified False Claims Act or whistleblower attorney.