A Spring Hill, Florida dentist has been arrested by the attorney general’s unit for $140,000 of Medicaid fraud, in addition to other alleged abuses of patient care. She is being charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud. If convicted of the charge, maximum penalties include up to $10,000 in fines, and 10 years in prison. This past Friday, a 21-page affidavit was released which details the many horror stories being lodged against the dental office.
According to lodged complaints, the dentist, Miranda Smith, has been falsifying billing in order to receive more Medicaid money, has pulled healthy teeth for the purpose of selling more dentures, and has pretended to find cavities in children where none existed.
Smith, who owns Smiles and Giggles Dentistry for Children and Adults, came under investigation by the Medicaid fraud unit after several patients and parents lodged complaints regarding suspicious billings. Investigators discovered that Smith had been billing Medicaid for sedation, x-rays, and other dental procedures that either hadn’t actually been provided, or were unauthorized.
Other former patients, according to a press release issued by authorities, indicated that Smith’s employees were providing dental care with the appropriate licensing. Key to the investigation was a parent who recently brought their child to Smith’s dental office, and was told the child needed immediate dental work for eight cavities. The parent decided to receive a second opinion and was told the child had no cavities whatsoever. Several other parents also lodged complaints regarding unnecessary dental work performed on their children.
Many patients submitted stories about negative experiences that spoke to an unprofessional approach to dentistry. When one woman’s new dentures caused sores and didn’t seem to fit, Smith told her, “That’s just the way your mouth is,” according to the affidavit.
Additionally, investigators claim that Smith, along with her staff, were in the habit of “Pulling healthy teeth in an effort to sell patients dentures and make larger Medicaid claims.” Although Smith has declined to talk to reporters, her husband, Donald R. Smith, has been speaking out, saying that she is actually owed more than $300,000 in back pay from Medicaid, and that the claims are the work of disgruntled employees. “She’s been fighting this for three years,” he says.
“A patient can learn more of the dentist’s personality and knowledge, and acquire a feeling whether he or she is being honest,” says Dr. Sage, Owner and Dentist at Alaska Center for Dentistry. “Also, I am a proponent of second opinions. If you are concerned that something doesn’t feel right, seek another professional opinion.”