SPRINGFIELD, NJ — A Springfield dentist has agreed to repay $250,000 to Medicaid for improper billing during a 4 ½-year period, the state comptroller announced in an Oct. 12 release.
Louis Tratenberg, who runs a practice in Springfield, will repay the money in seven installments through April, according to the settlement between the comptroller’s office and Tratenberg. The dentist disputed the claims by the comptroller and denied any civil wrongdoing.
“The Medicaid program will be reimbursed for claims that were improperly submitted for payment and protected going forward through the terms of the Corrective Action Plan being put in place,” state comptroller Philip James Degnan said in the release.
“This settlement evidences our continued commitment to the pursuit of fraud, waste, and abuse in the Medicaid program.”
Comptroller’s officer spokesman Jeff Lamm, told LocalSource on Wednesday, Oct. 25, that he did not know how much Tratenberg had received in overpayments, according to state calculations.
According to the release, Tratenberg billed Medicaid between January 2011 and May 2016 for services performed without sufficient documentation.
He also reportedly billed for multiple trips to the same facility when, in fact, he saw multiple patients at the facility during a single trip; and he double billed for certain claims.
Lamm said the mission of the state Comptroller’s Office is to detect fraud within the Medicaid system.
“They review records, check accuracy and are alert for fraudulent Medicaid billings by health care providers, managed-care organizations and or Medicaid recipients,” Lamm told LocalSource.
Medicaid provides health insurance to guardians and dependent children, pregnant women, and those who are aged, blind or disabled. The program pays for hospital services, doctor visits, prescriptions, nursing home care and other health care needs.
When LocalSource inquired how common fraudulent billings to Medicaid are, Lamm told LocalSource, “this happens several times over the course of a year.”
According to the settlement, Tratenberg also will correct his documentation and claims-submission practices in order to prevent similar recurrences.
Tratenberg did not respond to several phone calls to his office seeking comment.