Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed a lawsuit Monday against an orthodontist for allegedly submitting millions of dollars in false claims to MassHealth dating back to November of 2013.
Healey's office filed the suit against Dr. Mouhab Z. Rizkallah and two companies, Dr. Mouhab Z. Rizkallah DDS MSD PC and The Braces Place of Lawrence LLC. Rizkallah operates six orthodontic practices that do business as "The Braces Place," with locations in Somerville, Boston, Lawrence, Lowell, Framingham and Lynn.
The complaint charges Rizkallah's practices with keeping patients in braces for a longer period of time than was medically necessary to allow them to bill MassHealth for more money, per a statement from Healey's office. He often put braces on just his patient's top teeth, extending the treatment time beyond what was medically justified, the attorney general's office said.
The lawsuit also claims that the practices billed MassHealth more than $1 million for custom-fitted sports mouth guards when his patients either did not request, need, or even receive the mouth guards. If patients received the mouth guards, they were not custom-fitted and billed at roughly $75 or $85 more than retail price, per the statement.
The complaint also alleges that Rizkallah instituted practices to circumvent MassHealth regulations regarding medical necessity and approval for orthodontic treatment.
Healey said in the statement that the orthodontist stole "millions of dollars from the state" by using his patients as "pawns."
“This illegal behavior harmed families from low-income communities and communities of color who rely on MassHealth for health care coverage," she said. "We are suing to hold Dr. Rizkallah accountable for these exploitative practices that victimized vulnerable residents in Massachusetts.”