Hearing Transcripts Now Available for Download
Antoine Dental Clinic vs. HHSC-OIG – Vol. 1
Antoine Dental Clinic vs. HHSC-OIG – Vol. 2
Antoine Dental Center v. THHSC, OIG – Vol. 3
Antoine Dental Center v. THHSC, OIG – Vol. 4
This past week, from May 28th to May 30th, Dr. Behzad Nazari and his Antoine Dental Centers of Houston went before the State Office of Administrative Hearings in Austin for a payment hold hearing against the HHSC Office of the Inspector General. There was plenty of high powered attorneys on both sides.
OIG had brought in not only its own lawyers but those from Dallas and Houston personal injury and qui tam firms Waters & Kraus and Moriarty Leyndecker (paying them $250,000 for the hearings) as well as the Attorney General. In all, approximately 20 lawyers were in attendance from both sides with at least ten from the Texas government. It is estimated that OIG was paying approximately $2,500 an hour for their legal team.
This is only the second time a dentist has been able to come before SOAH on a “credible allegation of fraud” payment hold. If OIG cannot prove Medicaid fraud on the part of Antoine, as it could not do in the Harlingen Family Dentistry case, its credibility will be severely eroded. OIG has consistently been alleging in legislative committee meetings that dental Medicaid fraud is over $300 million.
In the May 21st pre-hearing conference, lawyers for the Attorney General argued a motion to prevent OIG whistleblower and former Director of Sanctions for OIG Fread Houston from testifying as he was to be a witness called by Dr. Nazari’s lawyer, Tony Canales. The AG lawyer argued unsuccessfully to prevent Mr. Houston from being a witness.
For the public record, a number of documents relating to the case are being made available here for download.