Dentist performed needless root canals on kids, NY AG says

A dentist allegedly performed unneccessary oral surgeries on pediatric patients, according to the New York Attorney General. Getty Images A dentist accused of performing medically unnecessary oral surgeries on children to “line his pockets” entered into a six-figure settlement with New York state attorneys. Barry Jacobson and his dentistry group […]

A dentist allegedly performed unneccessary oral surgeries on pediatric patients, according to the New York Attorney General.

A dentist allegedly performed unneccessary oral surgeries on pediatric patients, according to the New York Attorney General.

A dentist accused of performing medically unnecessary oral surgeries on children to “line his pockets” entered into a six-figure settlement with New York state attorneys.

Barry Jacobson and his dentistry group HQRC Management Services purportedly performed and billed for unneeded pediatric root canals — known as “baby root canals” — over seven years, according to an Oct. 6 news release from New York Attorney General Letitia James.

“It is unconscionable that medical professionals were willing to perform unnecessary dental procedures on children simply to make money,” U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger said.

Neither Jacobson nor HQRC immediately responded to requests for comment from McClatchy News.

The procedure in question, called a pulpotomy, is used to treat tooth decay and involves removing connective tissue from inside a tooth and capping the hole with a crown, according to the release.

Jacobson allegedly carried out the unnecessary procedures from 2011 to 2018, billing Medicaid, which provides public health insurance for low-income people. He also allegedly made billing errors in claims sent to Medicaid contractors between 2011 and 2014, according to the release.

He served as the director of pediatric dentistry at Mount Sinai Hospital from 2000 to 2010, according to his public Facebook page.

Jacobson, who has admitted to some of the investigation’s findings, will forfeit $753,457 as part of the settlement, of which more than $430,000 will be returned to the New York state Medicaid program, according to the release.

The case was brought by a former employee of Jacobson’s, who will receive part of the settlement, according to the release. The case was investigated by the attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, an initiative launched in 2011 that has “recovered and returned over a billion dollars back to New York State’s Medicaid Program,” according to its website.

As of 2021, health care fraud had decreased nationally by 29% since 2017, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, a federal agency.

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