Billing discrepancies at Las Vegas dental school raise suspicions of upcoding

Dentists

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The University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine may have overbilled patients and insurance companies by thousands, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Phillip Devore, DDS, former leader of the UNLV Dental Faculty Practice, billed patients for expensive surgical tooth extractions three times more often than simple extractions, according to a Review-Journal analysis. UNLV paid a law firm $366,000 to investigate the billing practices, but did not publicize the findings.

Billing irregularities from the dental school date back to 2012. Former staff members, most of whom spoke to the Review-Journal on the condition of anonymity, said billing irregularities were widely known.

UNLV data showed Dr. Devore only performed two surgical extractions and about 500 simple extractions in his four years at the school. However, billing data revealed Dr. Devore's patients were charged for at least 790 surgical extractions and about 270 simple extractions, the Review-Journal analysis found. In 2017, more than $400,000 of the dentist's nearly $600,000 income came from patient billings.

"I absolutely did not upcode anything," Dr. Devore, who now works in private practice, told the Review-Journal. "Just providing good service was enough to generate plenty of revenue."

The dental school is in compliance with Medicaid, but requests any patient who believes they have been overcharged to contact the school, Cindy Brown, UNLV spokesperson, told the Review-Journal.

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