A recent story from Bloomberg revealed that several dental management services companies are providing unnecessary dental work in order to boost profits. The report states that many of these companies are owned by private equity on Wall Street, which has driven them to put crowns on children as young as 4 years old while they are at school. They are paid by Medicaid to perform dental procedures for the poor and disabled. The dental management service companies contract the dental work out to dentists in the community, and have so far recruit about 8% of dentists in America (12,000). Interestingly enough the ADA is also talking the problem of free dental healthcare, but in a slightly different manner.
During one audit Medicaid found that 90% of orthodontic braces were medically unneeded and therefore Medicaid overpaid. Thankfully these types of gross abuse have caught the attention of lawmakers and regulators, who are now looking into the matter. Unfortunately it has taken several lawsuits and countless cases of unnecessary care to get the ball rolling. Unfortunately it appears the recent abuse of power occurring on Wall Street has also made its way into dentistry.