Oklahoma dental chain pays over $5 million to settle allegations of Medicaid fraud

by admin | November 4th, 2014

On October 30, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma announced that Ocean Dental, P.C., an Oklahoma-based company operating dental clinics serving Medicaid beneficiaries, had agreed to pay $5.05 million to settle civil claims that it had submitted false claims for services performed by one of its dentists – previously convicted of fraud. The company also agreed to a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the OIG-HHS. According to the U.S. Attorney’s press release:

Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma and E. Scott Pruitt, Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma, jointly announce that OCEAN DENTAL, P.C, has agreed to pay $5,050,000 to settle civil claims stemming from allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting false Medicaid claims for work that was either never performed or billed at a higher rate than allowed.

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Ocean Dental operates dental clinics throughout Oklahoma. As part of its practice, Ocean Dental provides dental services to patients, including children, covered by the Oklahoma Medicaid program.

The United States and Oklahoma contend that Ocean Dental submitted false claims for payment to the Oklahoma Medicaid program for dental restorations during the period from January 1, 2005 through September 30, 2010. Specifically, it is alleged that claims for dental restorations furnished to Medicaid beneficiaries by Ocean Dental’s then-employee Robin Lockwood, D.D.S., were false because they were either (1) upcoded by billing for more restored surfaces than were actually performed or (2) not performed at all.

To resolve the civil allegations brought by the United States and Oklahoma, Ocean Dental agreed to pay $5,050,000. Under the Settlement Agreement, Ocean Dental and Chad Hoecker, D.D.S., owner and president of Ocean Dental, are being released from civil liability related to the allegations. Ocean Dental has also entered into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General which requires, among other things, additional record-keeping, reporting and compliance requirements.

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The case was apparently the result of a government investigation, and not a qui tam whistleblower suit.

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