Common sense dictates that paper clips have no place in dental procedures. The case of former Massachusetts dentist Dr. Michael Clair proves this assumption is correct. According to The Washington Post, Dr. Clair used sections of paper clips instead of stainless steel posts when performing root canals; some of his patients reported pain, infections and other problems requiring tooth removal.
Medical & Dental Fraud
To make matters worse, Clair was billing Medicaid for the costs of the correct posts despite using paper clips – a white collar crime. He also filed false Medicaid claims by using the names of other dentists in his Massachusetts practice, according to the Post. Clair’s license to practice dentistry in Massachusetts was suspended in 2006.
The fallout: Clair was sentenced to 2.5 years in jail, with all but one year suspended, followed by five years of probation after pleading guilty to defrauding Medicaid of $130,000. The sentence also includes Clair’s guilty plea on charges of assault and battery, illegally prescribing medications and witness intimidation.
While Clair’s case is a unique scenario, Medicare and Medicaid fraud is a widespread problem that costs taxpayers millions of dollars annually and puts beneficiaries’ health at risk, according to the U.S. government. The following are examples of possible Medicare fraud:
- A health care provider bills Medicare for services the patient never received
- A supplier bills Medicare for equipment the patient never received
- A company offers a Medicare drug plan that has not been approved
- A company uses false information to mislead a patient into joining a Medicare plan
- Someone uses another person’s Medicare card to get medical care, supplies or equipment
- Someone bills Medicare for home medical equipment after it has been returned
Medicaid experiences similar types of fraudulent conduct by health care providers and companies. Individuals or businesses that face criminal charges for Medicare or Medicaid fraud should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can advocate on their behalf during the criminal investigation and proceedings.