Bloomberg has published an article today that you just have to read.
It starts with a mom in Arizona picking up her (sobbing) 4 year old after school, only to learn that a dentist had installed steel crowns on two of his back teeth — "pulpotomies" according to a note in his backpack. Baby root canals.
The mother hadn't even been consulted. "I was absolutely horrified," she said.
No, this wasn't Marathon Man for toddlers. So why this aggressive act of dentistry?
It was about money. Profits. Private equity. And a new plague known as "dental abuse."
Isaac’s dentist was dispatched to his school by ReachOut Healthcare America, a dental management services company that’s in the portfolio of Morgan Stanley Private Equity, operates in 22 states and has dealt with 1.5 million patients. Management companies are at the center of a US Senate inquiry, and audits, investigations and civil actions in six states over allegations of unnecessary procedures, low-quality treatment and the unlicensed practice of dentistry.
ReachOut, Bloomberg reports, is one of just 25 dental management services "bought or backed by private-equity firms in the last decade." The management services take care of the business side, leaving the dentists to focus on teeth. The trouble started when the profit-driven businesses began seeing opportunity in your tax dollars: Medicaid.
Maybe that's why there's a big cavity in the US government's budget?
A former physician once counseled me that dentists were "a bunch of crooks, out to get rich." At the time, I took that with a grain of salt. Thanks to Bloomberg, I won't even floss without exercising caution.
Click here, and read on.
And if there's a dentist nearby, keep your mouth closed.