This past Friday, TDMR and the Medicaid Providers Alliance held a successful health care compliance seminar at the Knapp Medical Conference Center in Weslaco. A room-capacity 72 dental providers attended and were informed that the Academy of General Dentistry had just a few days before approved the seminar for three hours of continuing education credit.
Health care compliance programs mandatory
The majority of the day was spent with health care compliance expert Gregory Ewing going through the various requirements that federal and state regulations now impose on dental practices. Ewing, also TDMR president, is a health care compliance attorney with 17 years experience. His focus was on providing information on internal compliance programs for practices that have been mandatory for the last several years under the Affordable Care Act. This fact has not been broadly known.
Also in attendance were Brenda Walker and Lisa Garza from Dentaquest to answer provider questions.
A look back at three years of work on due process rights for Medicaid providers
The first section of the seminar dealt with a retrospective on the last three years of TDMR’s work for due process rights for dental and other Medicaid providers. Speaking about their experiences as providers with the Health and Human Services Commission Office of Inspector General were Dr. Juan D. Villarreal, owner of Harlingen Family Dentistry, Dr. Paul Dunn, a single practitioner from Levelland and Austin administrative law attorney Jason Ray.
Dr. Villarreal, the founder of TDMR, told the audience that he wanted to see HHSC and OIG reformed so that providers are protected from unjust allegations of wrongdoing that destroys their practices and ultimately hurts the children they should be servicing. Dr. Dunn, who is 68 years old. has exhausted his life savings trying to keep his practice going despite a 51% payment hold. He was pessimistic about the future because he doesn’t have any money to defend himself and despite being told by Jack Stick, the now disgraced former HHSC and OIG executive, that he hadn’t committed fraud, OIG has operated to bankrupt him anyway. Jason Ray gave an animated talk about his experiences with OIG acting on behalf of his clients and he was hopeful that there was a sea change with a new Inspector General Stuart Bowen and that the OIG “reign of error” (our term) is at an end.
Dr. Joey Cazares, past president of the Rio Grande Valley Dental Society, also spoke and validated the important work of TDMR.
New Medicaid provider association wanted
A straw poll was conducted on whether or not providers would support and pay dues for a new separate association to represent Medicaid dental providers and Medicaid providers in general. An overwhelming majority of those in attendance were in favor.