Toothless Patients Got Cleanings on Medicaid: Audit

Auditors say the state Medicaid program may have overpaid $2.9 million

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    Medicaid payments may have gone to some quesionable claims.

    Auditors say the state Medicaid program may have overpaid $2.9 million for services like teeth cleaning for toothless patients.

    Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says auditors found the state health department's Medicaid claims processing system lacks necessary controls.

    Auditors identified almost 22,000 questionable services for about 6,500 patients with dentures during the five-year period ending June 30, 2008. That included almost 1,500 dentists who billed Medicaid $863,000 for cleanings, fillings, extractions and X-rays for about 5,000 patients with full dentures.

    The health department says it will review the claims, recover overpayments and has begun developing a system to more accurately identify dental procedures in claim processing.