Fuse/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — The Florida State Attorney General’s Office is investigating a dentist for Medicaid fraud after a group of parents alleged that he performed unnecessary and painful procedures on their children, ABC News has learned.
Dr. Howard Schneider, 78, has been practicing dentistry in Jacksonville since the 1960s. Authorities are investigating whether he collected millions of dollars in Medicaid payments for unwanted, unmerited procedures.
Brandi Motley says she took her 6-year-old daughter, Bri’el, in for a routine single-tooth extraction, but that the surgery took three hours.
“When I go back there, I notice she is hyperventilating, she’s bloody, she’s got marks all over her face, and I asked them what had happened, and she said, ‘Well, we stepped out of the room, came back in, and she was face first on the floor,’” Motley said.
Motley rushed her daughter to the hospital. During the trip, the girl removed the gauze in her mouth.
“She told me, ‘Mommy, they’re lying to you,’” Motley said. “And that’s when I noticed all of her teeth were gone.” The dentist’s records show he extracted eight teeth.
Motley said she went to the police and also took to Facebook, posting on social media about her daughter’s experience.
Sherraine Christopher saw Motley’s note – and posted a video that she says shows her 3-year-old son Zion strapped onto a restraining board, crying.
“While we were there, I pretty much told him, ‘Why is he screaming? Why are you being so rough with him?’” Christopher said.
Christopher said Schneider originally told her Zion needed one metal cap, but during three sessions, he implanted 13. Christopher says she is going to sue and use the video as evidence.
Christopher said that she only allowed the procedures to continue because Schneider was one of the few pediatric dentists who accepted Medicaid.
Law enforcement sources also told ABC News that they are investigating allegations that he physically abused his young patients.
Lawyer John Phillips said his law office is currently representing the families of 50 children who were treated at Schneider’s practice.
The dentist allegedly took advantage of the Medicaid process by “doing every possible service on teeth to maximize profit because Medicaid pays per procedure per tooth,” Phillips said.
Phillips said as soon his office accepted this case, it was flooded with dozens of calls — some of them from Schneider’s former pediatric clients who had received treatment decades history.
In the past five years, Medicaid paid Dr. Howard Schneider’s practice nearly $4 million.
Schneider has never been charged with any crime and still has his medical license. The dentist and his lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.
In a previous interview with ABC News affiliate WJXX-TV, he stated that he never abused patients.
“I’m not worried about the allegations because the allegations are not true,” he said.
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