Hudson La Petite Dentistry surrenders license after investigation

HUDSON, Wis. — A former Hudson pediatric dentist was being investigated on accusations of unnecessarily pulling children’s teeth, billing fraud and overuse of laughing gas when he surrendered his license to practice last month.

Documents obtained through a public records request show Dr. Andy Mancini was being investigated in seven different cases by Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Andy Mancini
Andy Mancini

The alleged violations included engaging in practices that constitute a substantial danger to patients, according to records.

Cases investigated by the state agency resulted in criminal charges and a civil suit brought by the state for falsified Medicaid claims.

An attorney for Mancini, who lives in Woodbury, Minn., previously said he would not comment on legal matters involving his client. Mancini denied all allegations in a Wisconsin Dentistry Examining Board document outlining the permanent surrender of his license in Wisconsin.

Dozens of allegations

A 2016 memo from the state alleged 37 separate complaints, including multiple reports of unnecessary tooth extractions, billing problems, children being held down, “aggressive procedures” and a threat to a child.

Among the allegations outlined:

  • Patients were billed for treatments that weren’t performed.
  • A child was held down while “kicking, pinching and clawing to get out of the seat during an extraction procedure,” during an unnecessary extraction procedure that a parent was not allowed to sit in on.

A dentist from the Department of Human Services Office of the Inspector General conducted an audit — generated by patient complaints — that revealed:

  • Mancini used the sedative nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, at levels sometimes reaching a 70 percent concentration of nitrous oxide-to-oxygen, about double the recommended concentrations of 30-40 percent nitrous oxide for children.
  • Patient files included “grossly mislabeled” X-ray files. The audit noted that Mancini would take the same six X-rays each time he’d see a patient. Medicaid, the report notes, reimburses for up to six X-rays on any date of service.

In a November 2016 interview with investigators, Mancini denied performing unnecessary work, but admitted to the possibility of billing errors “due to the incompetence of previous staff.”

Mancini told investigators he allowed parents in the room while he’s performing exams, but discourages family from being present during procedures “because it can be distracting” and can lead to anxiety for patients.

Kirsten Reader, assistant deputy secretary of the Department of Safety and Professional Services, said Mancini voluntarily surrendered his license April 10. She said that happened during the investigations — the outcomes of which could have led to revocation of his license.

Parent complaints

The latest allegations didn’t surprise former La Petite client Rebecca Viebrock of Hudson

She said that after being initially impressed with La Petite’s kid-friendly atmosphere, she found herself having to return over and over.

“I practically lived at that place,” she said.

She grew skeptical, but she said her questions about X-rays and cavities were met with defensiveness from Mancini.

Viebrock said La Petite was one of the only dentists in the area that took state insurance. Without La Petite — where she also received dental care — Viebrock said she and her children are left without options in the area.

Stillwater resident Ashley Foley said she’s also in search of answers after learning about allegations of questionable care at La Petite. She said she took her children there for two years beginning in 2012 and never questioned the multiple tooth-pullings Mancini recommended.

Two of those involved her daughter’s front baby teeth, which have sat empty since the child was about 2. Foley said the girl is now 5 years old and must wait at least two more years before her adult teeth come in. Meanwhile, Foley said her daughter is in speech therapy and covers her mouth in shame when she smiles.

“What if this didn’t need to happen?” she said.

This content was originally published here.

Person dies from coronavirus in Washington state, first in the US, health officials say

President Trump makes remarks in the White House press briefing room on the coronavirus.

Health officials in Washington confirmed Saturday that one person has died from coronavirus, marking the first disease-related death in the U.S.

Seattle and King County Public Health officials issued a vague media advisory announcing the first COVID-19 death in the U.S., adding that there was an undisclosed number of new cases, as well.

News of the death comes on the heels of three new cases in California, Oregon and Washington in which the patients were infected by unknown means. They had not recently traveled overseas or had come into contact with anyone who had.

President Trump said during a press conference Saturday that 22 people in the U.S. have been stricken by the new coronavirus and that additional cases are “likely.”

“Unfortunately, one person passed away overnight,” Trump said, referring to a patient in Washington state in their 50s who was “medically high-risk.”

“Four others are very ill,” Trump said. “Thankfully 15 are either recovered fully or they’re well on their way to recovery. And in all cases, they’ve been let go in their home.”

He said: “Additional cases in the United States are likely. But healthy individuals should be able to fully recover.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States is considered small. Worldwide, the number of people sickened by the virus hovered Friday around 83,000, and there were more than 2,800 deaths, most of them in China.

The new COVID-19 cases of unknown origins mark an escalation of the worldwide outbreak in the U.S. because it means the virus could spread beyond the reach of preventative measures such as quarantines, though state health officials said that was inevitable and that the risk of widespread transmission remains low.

As new cases have popped up in the United States, COVID-19 has become a polarizing point of contention between Democrats and the White House.

At a rally in South Carolina Friday night, Trump accused his Democratic critics of “politicizing” the coronavirus outbreak and dismissed the criticism about his handling of the virus as “their new hoax” and insisted “we are totally prepared.”

Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.

This content was originally published here.