Monday, November 05, 2012

Phony Dentists Practicing Out of Their Cars Arrested in Houston

More fake or phony dentists have been arrested - this time in Houston, Texas.

Armed with tips and a undercover camera, the Houston Police Department’s Major Offenders Division has been investigating and arresting people suspected of impersonating dentists.

During one undercover investigation detectives met Gilberto Ulloa. HPD captured Ulloa on video giving an examination and investigators said he offered to pull teeth and replace them for $1,500. He was arrested minutes later.

Outside in his driveway police boxed up the evidence that included dozen of dental tools that appeared to be un-sanitized.

In the last several weeks KHOU 11 News tagged along with investigators targeting nearly a dozen suspects. All of them were charged with practicing medicine without a license.

One of them was Julio Contento. Inside his apartment police said they found an entire dental office set up in the living room. He had dozens of tools, an air compressor and unfinished molds for patients he was allegedly treating.

In these tough times, many people with no health insurance can’t find affordable dental care and that’s why this phony dentistry is on the rise.

In Harris County low-cost service is available, but you must apply for it first through the county. We learned, after you apply, quick appointments are hard to come by. Many uninsured people who are in extreme pain end up going to hospital emergency rooms only to find out there are no dentists there.

The need for care is so great that some people waited in line all night recently to receive free dental care in Pasadena. The event was called Dentistry From the Heart.

It is important that law enforcement continue their efforts to eradicate the phony,fake dentists. Patient's health really is at stake with unsterilized instruments used in venues that are inappropriate for surgical procedures.

But, some folks who don't have the resources to seek regular private dental care, if they are indeed needy, the states should establish clinics (staffed with licensed dentists) to at least treat their emergencies.

The state administered Medicaid dentistry system has been full of abuse.

Why can't the states build a few clinics and staff them with recent dental school graduates or dentists who are near retirement? Certainly, such a system would be cheaper than the law enforcement costs of phony dentists, and investigators probing Medicaid fraud.

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