A pediatric dentist whose office was once accused of injecting a patient with a deadly dose of anesthesia and mistreating more than a dozen children has agreed to a $90,000 settlement for submitting “dishonest” Medicaid claims and other violations, officials announced.
Kevin Ward, owner of Children’s Dental Center in Union City, admitted as part of his agreement that he allowed an unlicensed employee to perform radiology practices and permitted his staff to re-use single-use equipment, State Comptroller Philip James Degnan announced.
The settlement, signed June 28, allows Ward and his unlicensed employee Tzipora Ozery to deny any civil wrongdoing.
From at least 2009 through 2011, Ward filed incorrect and inaccurate claims for services provided to Medicaid recipients. The practice received at least $102,434.95 from his “dishonest” and “deceptive” claims, officials said.
Ward additionally allowed employees to use equipment that was not properly sterilized, Degnan said.
“The health of patients was needlessly placed at risk by the actions of Ward and his employees,” Degnan said in a news release.
The settlement, which takes effect Friday and suspends Ward from participating in the Medicaid program for more than three years, is the latest wrinkle to the dentist’s tarnished record.
Ward’s license was first suspended for one year in 1986 when a child died from an anesthesia treatment at his office, state records show.
Then in 2000, a 5-year-old’s femur was broken when Ward grasped too tightly on the boy’s leg while treating the wrong tooth. That incident, after being reported by The Jersey Journal, resulted in 13 families accusing the doctor of similar treatment of children. Parents said Ward did not allow them to sit in examination rooms with their children.
Ward’s license was revoked in 2000 and five years later he was issued a new license to operate a dentist’s office, but not practice. By 2011 all restrictions were removed from Ward’s practicing license, records indicate.
Jack Bashwiner, Ward’s attorney, said his client plans to retire and transfer his practice.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino filed his own complaint against Ward on Monday seeking to have Ward’s license suspended or revoked.
Ward’s attorney said he was unaware of Porrino’s filings.