A national chain of dental clinics that has been connected to a pair of child deaths in Arizona will be forced to pay $23.9 million to the United States government and 17 states after it allegedly submitted false claims to Medicaid programs in those states.
The settlement announcement came from the U.S. Department of Justice, which said Benevis LLC and its more than 130 affiliated Kool Smiles clinics had agreed to pay the settlement. According to the DOJ’s announcement, Kool Smiles clinics across those 17 states allegedly knowingly submitted false claims for unnecessary procedures, such as baby root canals, stainless steel crowns and tooth extractions.
Healthcare fraud is one of the most costly forms of fraud in the United States. Healthcare facilities and clinics that bill Medicaid programs for unnecessary procedures help to contribute to consistent increases in the costs of healthcare. By prescribing these procedures, providers put patients at risk as a means of getting extra money back from the federal government.
The Kool Smiles clinic in Yuma, Arizona has already been in the news after two infant deaths were tied to procedures received there. These deaths are not connected to the recent settlement.
Under the False Claims Act, private citizens may file lawsuits against individuals and entities on behalf of the federal government if they become aware of internal wrongdoing. If the Department of Justice joins in the suit, the whistleblower stands to earn a significant amount of money in awards from enforcement actions.
For more information on filing a False Claims Act lawsuit, meet with an experienced Dallas lawyer at Whistleblower Law for Managers today.