New claims against Massachusetts dentist accused of cheating Medicaid program

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has filed new claims against a dentist, alleging he charged patients for missed and canceled appointments.

Mouhab Rizkallah, DDS, originally was accused of submitting false claims to Massachusetts' Medicaid program, MassHealth, in February. The claims added June 10 allege that Dr. Rizkallah billed patients for missed or canceled appointments, in violation of MassHealth and federal regulations.

According to the lawsuit, patients were required to sign a MassHealth treatment contract in which patients agreed to pay a $20 fee for appointments that were missed, canceled or rescheduled with less than a 24-hour notice. But under state and federal regulations, patients cannot be charged out-of-pocket fees for covered expenses, which includes costs associated with appointments patients are unable to make.

Dr. Rizkallah, who is also president of the Medicaid Orthodontists of Massachusetts Association, owns and operates six practices throughout Massachusetts under the name "The Braces Places."

Becker's contacted the six locations for comment June 16. Two locations, in Framingham and Lynn, Mass., had no comment. 

In a June 16 news release shared with Becker's, MOMA stated cancellation fees are not a covered service and that the accusations against Dr. Rizkallah are in response to past litigations the organization has taken against MassHealth and Attorney General Maura Healey.

"AG Maura Healey's accusations are false and retaliatory, due to the effective litigations Dr. Rizkallah and MOMA have had against MassHealth and Attorney General Maura Healey," the MOMA release states. "The most recent attack suggests that a provider is prohibited from charging cancellation fees to Medicaid patients. This is patently false."

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