Dentist who ran Medicaid billing scam, exposed patients to viruses gets 6-month home arrest
A former Oklahoma dentist was sentenced on Thursday to six months’ home confinement for a federal money-laundering charge stemming from complaints his unsanitary practice exposed at least one of his patients to hepatitis and could have exposed thousands to HIV.
W. Scott Harrington, who pleaded guilty to fraudulently billing the Medicaid federal healthcare program, also received two years’ probation. Prosecutors had been seeking up to 18 months in prison for Harrington improperly billing for services.
He was fined $20,000 and ordered to pay about $30,000 in restitution, according to a courtroom deputy for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
Health officials shut down his two Tulsa-area dental clinics in 2013 and he surrendered his license in 2014 after the Oklahoma Dental Board cited Harrington for health and safety violations that put his patients at risk.
As many as 7,000 of his patients could have been exposed to viruses because of improper sterilization and rusty surgical tools, state and Tulsa health officials have said.
Of the more than 4,000 of Harrington’s patients whose blood was tested, several dozens of them had hepatitis C and as many as three had HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS, officials said.
One person contracted hepatitis C at one of Harrington’s clinics, they said.
(Reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago; Editing by Peter Cooney)