Texas Inspector General Opens Investigation into Four Medicaid Dental Providers

Dentistry Today
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The Texas Office of Inspector General (OIG) has opened investigations on four Texas Medicaid dental providers and requested dental records from those offices, though it has not identified those providers.

While most Texas Medicaid dental providers take pride in their work and deliver excellent care to their patients, the OIG said, those who try to cheat the system and fail to maintain a standard of care are finding it harder to hide.

Advanced technology and experienced staff help the OIG uncover potential fraud, waste, and abuse faster than ever, the OIG said. Its Fraud Detection Operation (FDO) reviews volumes of data to reveal providers who appear as statistical outliers among their peers.

Investigators then evaluate additional records and information to determine whether an outlier’s status is attributable to possible fraud, waste, or abuse or another explanation. Providers are required to provide the records requested by OIG investigators.

In July 2020, an FDO focused on questionable dental billing practices analyzed claims data from more than 5,500 providers. Outliers in the Houston area were identified based on billing patterns for general dentistry services.

The OIG notes that mistakes can happen in any practice, so its analysis identifies outliers or behavior that may indicate fraud, waste, or abuse that needs closer examination. For instance, providers are flagged for a closer look if they bill:

  • A high number of procedure codes performed during a single visit without billing for sedation or general anesthesia.
  • Tooth-specific procedures performed on teeth that per ADA should have already been shed.
  • A high average number of resin restorations performed per client per visit.

The FDO data analysis revealed a provider who billed for a client with 18 procedure codes, including resin restorations, crowns, pulpotomies, and tooth removal, all performed on the same date and without anesthesia. Another claim involved a three-year-old client with 31 procedure codes, including five resin restorations, crowns, and pulpotomies.

As a result of the FDO, the OIG opened investigations on four providers. Dental records were then requested to verify if:

  • Dental services were requested/received by the client.
  • Records include supporting documentation for services billed to Medicaid.
  • The client has valid preoperative radiographs.

The investigations of the four providers are ongoing.

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