Archive for June 21st, 2012

Cosmetic Dentist in Houston Says Continued Education Improves Quality of Results

HOUSTON, TX–(Marketwire -06/21/12)-
According to a recent study from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), 99.7% of all Americans believe a smile is an important social asset. With the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that there are over 155,000 dentists currently practicing in America, Dr. Jeffrey Schultz, a cosmetic dentist in Houston, says choosing the right practice for a dental procedure requires diligent research and a careful eye. A Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), Dr. Schultz says patients need to be aware of the vital role continued education plays in a dentist’s ability to attain the highest quality results, and he encourages them to look into several aspects of a practice’s credentials before undergoing treatments such as Invisalign®, teeth whitening, or other procedures.

At his Houston cosmetic dentistry practice, Dr. Schultz says he often encounters patients who are misinformed about or unaware of the distinctions between various dental organizations, a knowledge of which he says can provide great benefits to those who are looking for the best treatment available. He says regardless of whether patients are looking for routine cleanings or porcelain veneers in Houston, taking the time to properly educate oneself can ensure patients receive the procedure that best fits their needs from a dentist who is qualified and experienced enough to perform it. Having attained Fellowship status with the AGD, Dr. Schultz says one of the most important indicators of a dentist’s ability is his or her commitment to continued education.

Founded 60 years ago, the AGD has over 35,000 member dentists across the United States and Canada. However, Dr. Schultz says being a Fellow of the AGD is reserved for those who have gone above and beyond in their dedication to mastering dental techniques. Achieved by completing over 500 hours of continuing dental education, a rigorous and comprehensive exam, and at least three years of membership in the AGD, Fellowship status signifies a pursuit of the latest in dental advancements and patient care. Dr. Schultz says this distinction also reinforces his belief that the foundation of cosmetic dentistry is built upon fundamental principles and a good understanding of general dentistry techniques.

“I made a conscious decision to get my Fellowship with the AGD because the AGD requires continuing education. It also requires that the continuing education courses be in all areas, including cosmetics, but is not limited to that. While I consider myself an excellent cosmetic dentist, I’m a general dentist first and foremost so I prefer to be educated in all disciplines. I think every dentist has to be a good general dentist before he can consider himself a cosmetic dentist,” he says.

For any patient considering a cosmetic or general procedure, Dr. Schultz recommends conducting extensive research into their dentist’s continued education, as it can be a vital gauge of their commitment to patient care. He says by selecting a dentist who has proven their hard work through going the extra mile, patients will increase the chances of receiving quality treatment and a satisfactory result:

“Getting my fellowship has definitely made me a better dentist, not just because I had to take many hours of continuing education and pass a rigorous exam, but because I am a part of a group with emphasis on high educational and moral standards.”

About Jeffrey L. Schultz, DDS

Dr. Jeffrey Schultz earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Houston and his dental degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. In addition to being a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, he is a graduate of the Hornbrook Group, a leader in advanced training in Aesthetic Dentistry. Dr. Schultz has been selected by H-Texas Magazine as one of the Top Dentists, and is the official cosmetic dentist of the Page Parkes Modeling Agency. He is also a member of the American Dental Association, the Texas Dental Association, and several other professional organizations.

Located at 6565 West Loop South, Suite 860 in Houston, TX, the Schultz Center for Cosmetic Dentistry can be reached at (713) 489-1350. It can also be contacted online via the website schultzsmiles.com or the Schultz Center for Cosmetic Dentistry Facebook page.

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Thursday, June 21st, 2012 General Dentistry No Comments

Coroner’s Office has bad news, good news

June 20, 2012

Coroner’s Office has bad news, good news


By CARL E. FEATHER – cfeather@starbeacon.com



Staff Writer
The Star Beacon


Wed Jun 20, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

JEFFERSON —
Ashtabula County Coroner’s Investigator Rich Mongell had good news and bad news for commissioners Tuesday.

The good news: The Cuyahoga County Coroner’s office, that provides autopsies for a Ashtabula County Coroner, is slicing $25 off a $1,100 cost for a service.

The bad

Article source: http://starbeacon.com/local/x651523490/Coroner-s-Office-has-bad-news-good-news

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Thursday, June 21st, 2012 Salary Of A Dentist No Comments

Coroner’s Office has bad news, good news

June 20, 2012

Coroner’s Office has bad news, good news


By CARL E. FEATHER – cfeather@starbeacon.com



Staff Writer
The Star Beacon


Wed Jun 20, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

JEFFERSON —
Ashtabula County Coroner’s Investigator Rich Mongell had good news and bad news for commissioners Tuesday.

The good news: The Cuyahoga County Coroner’s office, which provides autopsies for the Ashtabula County Coroner, is slashing $25 off the $1,100 price for the service.

The bad news: The county will have to pay more for extraordinary forensic services that have, in the past, been included in the flat rate.

Mongell told commissioners that the Cuyahoga County Coroner requested that the county sign a contract for the new rate and billing structure. Mongell told commissioners that the coroner is making the request so all counties served by that office will pay the same rate. Mongell said some counties have been paying $1,200 per autopsy.

Ashtabula’s rate of $1,100 included services such as a forensic dentist or pathologist, when necessary. But the new rate is for the basic service, and the contract provides for additional services to be billed over and above the $1,075.

Mongell said most of the county’s cases do not require additional forensic services, and if the cost exceeds the old rate, the coroner told him they would “go back to the old price,” depending on the case.

Both the county’s auditor and prosecuting attorney reviewed the contract, which is the result of government reorganization in Cuyahoga County.

It also passed muster with the coroner, Dr. Pam Lancaster.

It is not financially feasible for the county to do its own autopsies because of the high salary and facility costs. Mongell said the next closest county that could provide the service is Summit, and using that county would increase transportation costs for Ashtabula.

The contract also should protect the county in the rare instance where a body is released without positive identification and later is determined to be someone else. Mongell said that occurred in southern Ohio counties and resulted in legal action against them.

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2012
The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio. All rights
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Thursday, June 21st, 2012 Salary Of A Dentist No Comments

Texas Medicaid dental program pays millions for crowns, fillings

NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES

One year after News 8 began looking into the $1.5 billion Texas Medicaid dental program, its executives have either announced their departure, already left, or have been reassigned.

Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs has announced his retirement.

Medicaid Commissioner Billy Milwee, who was promoted earlier this year, has announced his retirement.

The dental director, Dr. Jerry Felkner, quit last fall.

And the chief of Dental Public Health, Dr. Linda Altenhoff, has been assigned new duties.

These changes came after News 8 revealed that more than $500 million was paid out for Medicaid children, primarily for cosmetic braces.

Meanwhile, Medicaid data obtained by News 8 under the Texas Public Information Act indicate a potentially larger problem with steel crowns and composite fillings.

Last year, the state paid more than $100 million for 690,145 steel crowns on children’s’ teeth, all of them for kids less than nine years old.

While much of that treatment was surely needed, critics say the Medicaid dental system is being grossly abused by a few dentists.

David Alvarez was five years old when he went into a corporate dental office in San Antonio, accompanied by his father and grandmother. 

His parents expected that David might need four crowns. He emerged from the office with 20.

“He looked like he got beat up,” mom Teresa Alvarez said. “His lips were swollen. He couldn’t close his mouth. He looked like a robot.”

Dallas Freeman was only three when he went to the same San Antonio dentist. He came out with 15 caps on his teeth. Dental records show the dentist spent less than 23 minutes working on Dallas’ mouth.

Taxpayers paid $3,800 for the procedures.

“He was crying,” said his mother, La Toya Freeman. “They strapped him down so he could barely move.”

Children are often restrained on “papoose boards” while undergoing dental procedures. Both David and Dallas required oral surgery under sedation after their initial treatments.

San Antonio Attorney Tom Crosley is suing several corporate dental chains in Texas. “We have been shocked at the amount of Medicaid fraud or over-treatment going on with kids in our communities,” he says. “The kid goes into the appointment and has no complaints, no symptoms, no teeth hurting. But the kid walks out 30 minutes later with a mouthful of metal.”

Records obtained by News 8 show Clinica Hispana, a storefront clinic at 8410 Fondren in Houston, was the state leader in steel crowns. Every child who got steel crowns there last year received at least nine of them, records show.

Records do not show a dentist at the establishment. Taxpayers spent $337,000 on the procedures.

At Rodeo Dental in Fort Worth, children who got crowns averaged at least eight, at a cost to Medicaid of $1,004,000. All told, the state paid Rodeo more than $1.7 million for steel crowns at three locations last year, records show.

News 8 asked the state for the top 200 Medicaid billers for a number of procedures. Then we took the statistics to Dr.Kenneth Bolin at the Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas. Bolin noticed that while Rodeo Dental was putting an average of eight crowns on each child, a clinic in Lubbock was putting on only two.

“There’s no logical reason there should be that much of a discrepancy,” Bolin said. “That definitely deserves a record audit.”

In March, News 8 reported that some dental chains have actively recruited patients. One of them was Bear Creek Dental, which has seven clinics in North Texas.

After our stories, State Sen. Jane Nelson wrote HHS Commissioner Tom Suehs that she was “deeply concerned about illegal solicitation of patients.” Medicaid paid Bear Creek more than $3.5 million for steel crowns last year.

Dental chain All Smiles, which declared bankruptcy earlier this year, was still able to collect $1.6 million for steel crowns in 2011, records show.

Some chains also bill the state large amounts for filling children’s’ teeth with composite resins. The leader: Dental Professionals of Texas (DPTX), a chain operating under 23 different names at 40 locations.  

News 8 reported that DPTX helped form a company called Texas Community Outreach Associates to recruit patients.

Kevin Byington, who headed Texas Community Outreach, said he had 400 “community workers” in three states. He admitted DPTX was his “client.”

“They [dentists] have a lot of expenses from dental school to pay and they need to be busy,” Byington told News 8.

Since our story, Byington’s operation has closed.

State records show his client, DPTX, was the state’s largest biller for resin fillings under Medicaid last year, collecting $15,870,000. At one DPTX clinic in Fort Worth, Archstone, collections averaged more than $1,000 per patient, records show.

“That would also be a red flag for me,” Baylor’s Dr. Bolin said.

Three months ago, the state changed the way it manages its Medicaid dental program. It will be months before the results show up.

The Office of Inspector General also has several investigations under way after News 8’s stories. Those results, if any, have not yet been made public.

E-mail bharris@wfaa.com

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Thursday, June 21st, 2012 Dental Offices No Comments


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