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A company that provides dental care to low-income children throughout the U.S. has agreed to pay $24 million to settle a federal lawsuit that claimed it had provided unnecessary and substandard care.
The Department of Justice charged that FORBA, which operates 68 clinics in 22 states, submitted claims for unneeded dental services for children, including "baby root canals" and tooth extractions, Bloomberg reports.
Assistant U.S. Attorney General Tony West told the news source that the services failed to meet professional standards.
"We have zero tolerance for those who break the law to exploit needy children," West said.
He added that "illegal conduct like this endangers a child's well-being, distorts the judgments of healthcare professionals and puts corporate profits ahead of patient safety."
Whistleblowers in Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina, who sued under the federal False Claims Act, will together receive $2.4 million from the settlement.
In addition to demonstrating a need for regulation in the medical industry, the lawsuit also underscores the improved dental care patients receive by enrolling in a dental insurance plan and consulting a family dentist.
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