Former Employee's Lawsuit Says Texas Dentist Padded Medicaid Billing
Office manager fired for reporting billing irregularities at Plano office, lawsuit says
DALLAS, Nov. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The former office manager for Premier Family Dentistry in Plano, Texas, has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against her former employer based on claims that she was fired for refusing to take part in "improper and illegal billing practices."
Shelly Hamnett began working for Dr. Sweeta Walia and Premier Family Dentistry in February. Her long career in the dental industry includes 19 years in dental billing, but she was fired in October after raising concerns about Dr. Walia's billing practices, according to the lawsuit. Attorney Matt Scott of Dallas' Kendall Law Group represents Ms. Hamnett.
In the lawsuit, Ms. Hamnett details how she began receiving "a substantial number of denial letters" in October from insurance carriers who had "determined that the services Dr. Walia provided were either medically unnecessary and/or were not supported by the documentation submitted with the claim." Approximately 40 percent of Premier's patients are covered by Medicaid and CHIP, children's Medicaid.
After receiving the denial letters, Ms. Hamnett reviewed the office's billing records and found several alleged irregularities, including cases in which insurers would be billed for more expensive materials than patients received, billing for two-day procedures that took only one day, and billing for procedures that were never performed. She also found instances in which the dentist performed procedures that were unnecessary or more expensive than necessary, the lawsuit states.
Based on the troubling discoveries, Ms. Hamnett raised her concerns to Dr. Walia, who the lawsuit says admitted to the fraudulent billing and ordered Ms. Hamnett to cooperate. Ms. Hamnett refused and was fired two days later, according to the lawsuit.
"Shelly refused to be part of Dr. Walia's scheme to defraud insurers, particularly those that are funded by taxpayers," says Mr. Scott. "She was fired for speaking up, and that's not only immoral, it's illegal."
The lawsuit is Shelly Hamnett v. Dental Impressions, Inc. d/b/a Premier Family Dentistry and Sweeta Walia, DMD, No. 429-04245-2012, in Collin County.
The Kendall Law Group is a trial law firm that represents people in lawsuits against companies, in cases involving employment discrimination and wrongful termination. Visit the firm's website at http://www.kendalllawgroup.com.
For more information on the lawsuit, please contact Mark Annick at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE The Kendall Law Group
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