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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Dental Management Company Pays $24 Million to Resolve Fraud Allegations

BALTIMORE, MD ( January 21, 2010) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Maryland has joined 22 other states and the federal government to settle allegations against FORBA Holdings, LLC., a dental management company that provided management services to Small Smiles dental clinics nationwide. Under the agreement, FORBA agreed to pay the participating states and the federal government $24 million, plus interest, to resolve allegations that it caused bills to be submitted to state Medicaid programs for medically unnecessary dental services performed on children insured by Medicaid. Medicaid is funded jointly by the federal and state governments.

Maryland alleged that FORBA was liable for causing the submission of claims for reimbursement for a wide range of dental services provided to low-income children that were either medically unnecessary or performed in a manner that failed to meet professionally-recognized standards of care. These services included performing pulpotomies (baby root canals) and extractions, placing crowns, administering anesthesia, providing fillings and/or sealants, and inappropriately using behavior management techniques to restrain child patients.

Maryland’s portion of the recovery is $547,423. As part of the settlement, FORBA has agreed to enter into an expansive five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services that requires the implementation of new procedures and independent reviews. Specifically, FORBA must engage external reviewers to monitor its quality of care and reimbursement. In addition, the Chief Dental Officer must develop and implement policies and procedures to ensure that the Small Smiles clinics provide services consistent with professionally recognized standards of care.

The investigation was initiated by three whistleblower lawsuits filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. These actions are pending in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, the Western District of Virginia, and the District of South Carolina.
A team representing the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units participated in the investigation and conducted settlement negotiations with FORBA on behalf of the settling states. Attorney General Gansler would like to thank Investigator Valerie Puig for her work on this case.

   

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