Insurance Fraud NEWS
Dentist accused of yanking healthy teeth in Kentucky
April 18, 2019, Floyd County, KY
Rebecca Hall remembers several times her dentist, who is also a minister, soothed her needle phobia by singing gospel songs.
So she was shocked to learn of the federal charges against Dr. Denver "Dicky" Tackett — including allegations he profited by needlessly pulling teeth.
Hall posted on his practice's Facebook page: "I'm heartbroken to find out such a wonderful dentist has been arrested with such ridiculous charges."
Tackett — pastor of Wayland United Methodist Church in Floyd County — was arrested Wednesday in Eastern Kentucky, part of the nation's largest health care fraud sweep that levied charges against 53 doctors, pharmacists, dentists and other medical professionals. Those charged include five Kentucky doctors.
Tackett ran Tackett Family Dentistry based in McDowell, a three-hour drive east of Louisville, near the West Virginia border.
Amid the nation's worst ever addiction crisis, Tackett prescribed potentially addictive opioid pain medicine for no legitimate medical purpose, according to allegations in an April indictment.
Tackett's attorney didn't immediately return calls seeking comment Thursday morning and afternoon. A woman who answered the phone at his practice said the office was closed, but she couldn't comment on the allegations.
Indictments only represent the side of prosecutors and investigators, with Tackett presumed innocent unless convicted.
Hall, 36, said she has been going to Tackett for dental services for more than 15 years without any complaints.
"I went there to have my wisdom teeth cut out," she said. "I trust him that much. He's amazing.
"He won't just pull your teeth, they had to be bad. They'd do X-rays."
Larry Wilson, 49, said he has been going to Tackett for about three decades and doesn't believe the allegations: "You couldn't meet a finer gentleman."
Connie Jackson, 52, said Tackett came to her rescue a year ago, staying open late, even though she was a new patient, when her regular dentist was too booked to treat a painful exposed nerve.
"He told me. 'I'm not gonna let you be in pain, baby girl,'" Jackson said.
The dentist is accused of scheduling unnecessary follow-up appointments and inappropriately billing, bilking Medicaid and other insurance providers.
"Tackett performed and submitted claims for dental procedures that were not reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of a patient's illness or injury," according to the indictment.
The Tackett Family Dentistry page promotes a friendly Christian work environment and shows photos of the dentist posing with a girl after her dental procedure and on a bended knee talking to another child. He posted a video of himself drawing a name to offer free dental services.
"You're the lucky winner," he said. "You get to come down here and hear me sing. Amen. We love each and every one of ya. Thank you and God bless you."
The dentist was charged during an Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force initiative.
It unites prosecutors and data analysts trained in these types of cases with several federal agencies, including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, postal service officials, the IRS and others.
Along with Tackett, healthcare fraud charges where announced this week against five Kentucky doctors:
Dr. Christopher Nelson, with Bluegrass Pain Consultants in Louisville and La Grange. He is charged with teaming with Florida-based Assured RX pharmacy to defraud Medicare and Tricare, a health care program for military veterans, by inflating drug costs. Nelson is accused in a kickback scheme of funneling customers to the home delivery pharmacy for controlled substances, including a special pain cream the company mixed itself as a compounding pharmacy.
Dr. Ijaz Mahmood, who operates a clinic in Elizabethtown, is accused of authorizing prescriptions for drugs — including controlled substances — at times when he wasn't even in the country. Charges in the indictment accuse him of providing presigned, blank prescriptions to office staff so they could approve narcotics when he wasn't around. He also directed employees, including some who weren't licensed to practice medicine, to perform medical services on patients, according to allegations in the indictment.
Dr. Mohammed A.H. Mazumder, a Prestonsburg pain management specialist who owned Appalachian Primary Care. He is accused of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid by providing signed, blank prescriptions to office staff — including receptions — so they could prescribed controlled substances to patients when the doctor wasn't in the office.
Dr. Scotty R. Akers, formerly with Pikeville Sports, Spine and Joint Pain Center. When his center closed, Akers prescribing opioids to Facebook friends who would come to his home to pick up the drugs, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice. Prosecutors say the doctor's office manager is accused of fielding prescription drug requests through Facebook messenger, then delivering the signed prescriptions for cash. The indictment charges Akers with conspiring to illegally dispense addictive drugs, including fentanyl, the No. 1 killer in Kentucky and the nation.
Dr. Sai P. Gutti, a pain management specialist who ran five clinics in Pikeville, Harold, Paintsville, Whitesburg and Belfry — where he was the only doctor. He is charged with billing Medicare for urine testing that wasn't done and for urine testing that wasn't medically necessary.
Russell Coleman, the top federal prosecutor for the Western District of Kentucky, said other health care fraud investigations are underway and to expect more arrests in late spring or early summer.
Source: Courier Journal