Texas Dentists for Medicaid Reform was founded by the late Dr. Juan D. Villarreal. Dr. Villarreal was concerned about the future of dental care for the over four million Texas children eligible for Medicaid as well as the reputations of Medicaid dentists such as himself who had been tarnished by unproven allegations of Medicaid fraud.
While fraud, waste and abuse within the Medicaid system cannot be tolerated, the practices of many dentists, their reputations, and their families have been hurt by the bureaucratic red-tape and bungling of state Medicaid officials and the unjust tactics of their enforcement arm, the Office of Inspector General, before its reform in 2015.
Today, these are still important issues, particularly with the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act and with how Medicaid dental maintenance organizations deal with various billing issues and even payment holds.
95% of dentists surveyed who take Medicaid patients do so for altruistic reasons—helping impoverished children and families obtain needed dental care. When they are successful and honest, they deserve to be assisted and protected for their efforts.
Our purposes are as follows:
- Provide advocacy for dental Medicaid providers and work with legislatures and health professional organizations such as TMA and TDA to bring forward legislation to balance the playing field for all Medicaid providers.
- Bring providers’ stories to the public.
- Take on a watchdog role to expose injustice within Medicaid.
- Provide news and updates about Medicaid reform.
Founder Dr. Juan D. Villarreal D.D.S.
Dr. Juan D. Villarreal started his practice in Harlingen in 1983 after graduating from the Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and attending Medical Officer Training School at Fort Sam Houston. His practice at HFD has successfully grown to encompass 12 other dentists and a total staff of over 140 people. He has expanded with offices now in Brownsville, Edinburg, McAllen, Weslaco, Raymondville and Austin.
Dr. Villarreal was appointed to the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners by Governor Perry in 2001 and served on the Board until 2008. He acted as Secretary of the Board from 2005 to 2006 and was the Chair of the Enforcement Committee. He is a Past President of the following organizations: the Hispanic Dental Association; the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District Trustees and the City of Harlingen Economic Development Board.
He prides himself on being a Harlingen native and working to bring affordable dental care to the Rio Grande Valley.
Dr. Villarreal passed away in late December 2019.
Meet our Advisory members
Mr. Gregory Ewing
Gregory Ewing has over seventeen years of experience in transactional health law; health information technology; privacy and security compliance, assessment, and remediation; general corporate and real estate. He has worked in a variety of settings, including a large Boston law firm, a small boutique firm, in–house counsel for a large California health system, solo practitioner, and management consulting in Washington, DC. Mr. Ewing provides general counsel services to several health care organizations.
Mr. Ewing earned his law degree from Boston University School of Law. Also, he holds a Masters in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health and completed his coursework and qualifying examinations toward a Ph.D. in health policy at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Mr. Ewing earned his Bachelors of Arts in Music at Oberlin College and attended Berklee College of Music, where he studied arranging and music composition.
Over his career, Mr. Ewing has written and spoken on a variety of subjects, including health information technology, HIPAA, the HITECH Act, physician recruitment, Stark, fraud and abuse, anti-kickback statute, EHR/EMR and health care reform.
Mr. Ewing is active in the American Health Lawyers Association and served as Vice-Chair, Strategic Activities, Healthcare Liability and Litigation Practice Group, and Co-Leader, Privacy and Security Compliance and Enforcement Affinity Group, Health Information Technology Practice Group.
Dr. Paul Dunn
Dr. Paul Dunn started in private practice with his father in Levelland in January 1974 after graduating from the Baylor University College of Dentistry. He has been in Levelland ever since. He has been president of the Levelland Noon Rotary Club, a member of the Levelland Independent School District Board of Education and been appointed to a four-year term on the Texas State Board of Education by Governor Mark White.
Paul has been associated with TDMR since 2012. He is one of the first dentists to testify before legislators about how he was adversely affected by the improper use of payment holds by the then-Office of Inspector General. He ended up spending all his retirement funds to defend himself.