Yesterday, Travis County District Court Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued her decision in the case of Antoine Dental Centers of Houston, vindicating the practice in its payment hold case. The practice had been accused of “credible allegations of fraud” in its Medicaid orthodontic billings from 2008 to 2011.
Appeal of Janek’s decision
Antoine was appealing the final decision issued last year by former Health and Human Services Commissioner Kyle Janek that totally negated a 2013 administrative court decision also finding Antoine innocent of allegations of Medicaid fraud and ordered Antoine’s withheld funds be returned.
District Court agreed with SOAH ruling
Meachum’s ruling yesterday concurred with the findings of the two judges of the State Office of Administrative Hearings in determining Antoine innocent and ordering the return of some $3 million.
“Massive waste of State money”
“This case against Dr. Nazari has been a massive waste of State money and manpower. The State employed two attorneys from the Office of Inspector General, two more from the Attorney General’s office, and four other additional private outside counsel that were paid with $250,000 of State funds,” said Jason Ray, a member of Antoine Dental Center’s legal team.
“With all that legal firepower, the State still could not provide the court with any evidence of fraud by Antoine. I’m happy to report that no matter how many attorneys the State throws at a meritless prosecution, the State can’t change the facts.”
State batting .000 in such cases
If the state does not appeal the ruling, it’s over and marks another landmark legal loss for the HHSC Office of Inspector General and the Office of Attorney General regarding allegations of Medicaid fraud in dental orthodontic billings. So far, they’re batting .000.
“I am very relieved,” said Dr. Behzad Nazari, the principal in Antoine. “This decision shows the whole process was unfair from the beginning. The state should have gone after Xerox from the beginning, but instead they went after the little guys. Doug Wilson is gone. Jack Stick is gone. Kyle Janek, the guy who reversed the original fair decision, on my practice is gone too. Says something, doesn’t it?”