Tiny Tot Terror
February 3, 2010
Across the country, in Small Smiles dental clinics, staff members have been using restraint boards to hold young, frightened and screaming children down while dentists perform painful and needless procedures like baby root canals and baby crowns.
Investigations to date suggest that Small Smiles' staff performed these excessive and apparently unnecessary procedures in order to collect Medicaid insurance reimbursement and bonuses.
FORBA Holdings, LLC recently agreed to pay the Federal Government and 22 states millions of dollars to resolve allegations that it submitted bills to Medicaid for medically unnecessary dental services. The federal share of the civil settlement is in excess of $14 million and the states' share is nearly $10 million. This money, though, will not go to the victims, but to both federal and state Medicaid funds.
To date, there has not been any concerted effort to seek redress for the children who suffered from Small Smiles' practices. Many children have been left traumatized and with ongoing dental problems. Some will require extensive dental work to repair the damage that has been done by Small Smiles.
FORBA's website heralds their practices as necessary, and catering to an underserved segment of the population: "This year, hundreds of thousands of children in underserved and low-income communities nationwide will receive quality care from the compassionate caregivers at our associated dental centers."
Interviews conducted to date of former Small Smiles patients and their parents suggest a far different experience than the one touted by FORBA on its website.