California pediatric dentist accused of performing unnecessary work

The Dental Board of California is investigating Khuong Nguyen, DDS, a pediatric dentist in San Diego, after allegations that he billed for treatment that was either not performed or unnecessary, according to documents cited by NBC's KNSD.

Dr. Nguyen operates San Diego-based Clairemont Pediatric Dental and currently has an active dental license.

Following a parent complaint, the state dental board launched an investigation into Dr. Nguyen in 2018. The board laid out eight causes for discipline, including:

  • Incompetence
  • Repeated acts of negligence
  • Excessive administering of drugs or treatment
  • Unprofessional conduct — obtaining fee by fraud and misrepresentation
  • Presenting false or fraudulent claim for payment under a contract of insurance
  • Failure to follow oral conscious sedation guidelines
  • Failure to properly continuously monitor patients undergoing oral conscious sedation

Dr. Nguyen's attorney declined an interview with KNSD's investigative team. He denied the state's claims, listed Dr. Nguyen's credentials and emphasized that the dentist has never been disciplined by the board before. He said the subject matter of the media report was "not newsworthy and based on conjecture."

Though this is the first state dental board investigation into Dr. Nguyen, a Medi-Cal Dental review in 2017-18 assessing billing for 20 patient files found "76 instances where the treatment billed was not found to be medically necessary or dental work was found to be below the standard of care," according to KNSD.

The Department of Health Care Services, which conducted the review, told the news publication that it placed sanctions on Dr. Nguyen starting Oct. 1, 2018. A spokesperson cited a "lack of evidence for medical necessity, remaining decay and fractured restorations," according to KNSD. Dr. Nguyen must now "submit documentation to prove the necessity for services being requested and as evidence to help determine the quality of care.”

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