NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES
DALLAS Dr. Michael Goodwin of Amarillo was one of the trailblazers of Texas Medicaid Dental fraud.
He was found guilty of over-billing Texas Medicaid for more than $1 million. Documents in the case against him showed that he directed assistants to do the work of dentists when he was, in fact, out of town.
Now Goodwin is serving a 50-month prison term. But he still has his dental license, according to the website of the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE). It shows no spots on his record, and his license as active.
The Dental Board is known for its lack of alacrity.
"There can be complaints that don't get investigated for a year," said attorney Tom Crosley of San Antonio.
He has several clients who've been waiting months for the board to take action against dentists.
More than a year ago, Teresa Alvarez filed a complaint with the board over a dentist employed by Smile Center in San Antonio. She's yet to hear of any resolution from her complaint.
Her son went into the office for treatment of what she thought were a few cavities; the child emerged with "a mouthful of metal." All of his teeth had metal caps, according to Alvarez.
"He looked like a robot," she said. "It hasn't been handled."
Eleven months later, nothing has happened.
But a bill has passed in the Texas House that would give the board more money to enforce the Texas Dental Practice Act. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), would also let parents be present in the room when their children are treated.
The bill is now pending before the Senate.