Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Texas Dentist Sentenced to Jail for Insurance Fraud


 
Health insurance is in the news more than a little these days. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” finally taking place, there are questions about which doctors will take part in the coverage, how employers will handle the requirement to provide health care for their workers and why some people are being dropped from their plans when the language coming from the White House seemed to indicate this would not be happening. And then there’s the website, which has been the focus of both daily press briefings and Saturday Night Live sketches. While this post is not passing judgments on the merits or drawbacks of the health care plan, there should be little dispute over stating that the rollout has come with some concerns.

While Americans try to navigate this new system and provide the security of health coverage for their families, they at least want to hope that they can trust their doctors to act within the scope of the law. However, Dr. Terrence Ewing Syler of southeast Texas broke that trust and now he is going to prison.

Dr. Syler pleaded guilty to health care fraud, as he has been submitting claims to Medicaid, which is government health insurance, since 2007 for procedures he never performed. He now will serve 22 months behind bars and has been ordered to pay $835,000 in restitution and fines.

It is unfortunate when poor decisions of a few individuals in a profession cast doubt on the work of others who have always acted within the boundaries of the law. I wonder if the former patients of Dr. Syler now will look with skepticism, whether with any merit or not, on the next person who handles their dental care.

If you have been unfairly accused of wrongdoing in your professional practice, perhaps because one of your peers has made news for wrongdoing and others assume the same of you, Bertolino LLP can help. We have attorneys who specialize in dental license defense as well as the defense of other licensed professions. We will fight aggressively to protect your reputation and livelihood. Don’t take any filed complaints lightly, even if you know there is no truth to them . . . call us today.

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