03/22/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Colorado Springs Dental Clinic Exploited Poverty-Stricken Children For Profit

A federal investigation into a national dental chain with a clinic in Colorado Springs found that dentists were performing unnecessary root canals, extractions and other procedures on poor children to profit off Medicaid, and the company has agreed to pay $24 million and make changes.

Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson, of Health and Human Services, said: "The allegations in this case are serious and disturbing," adding that the nearly 70 dental clinics were part of a scheme that involved "unnecessary and potentially dangerous services to children in an attempt to maximize profit."

Medicaid was billed, he said, for root canals, crowns, extractions, fillings and scalings that were often not up to professional standards. Often, children were restrained by papoose boards. Anesthesia and X-Rays were administered by untrained or unlicensed staff members, he said.

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