FALL RIVER — Kool Smiles, a national dental chain with branches in Fall River and New Bedford, agreed to pay millions of dollars to settle allegations that it performed unnecessary work on children and billed Medicaid fraudulently.
“This company made millions by performing unnecessary root canals and other invasive dental procedures on children,” Attorney General Maura Healey said on Friday. “With this settlement, we’re recovering more than $1 million for the state and will ensure this company cannot use these practices in the future.”
Kool Smiles operates 133 dental clinics around the country. Locally it is at 933 Pleasant St. and at 137 Hathaway Road, New Bedford. The chain specializes in dental care for children and patients with Medicaid insurance coverage.
Its parent company is Benevis LLC, which was also part of the settlement.
Benevis and Kool Smiles agreed to pay $23.9 million to the United States, the District of Columbia and 19 states. Massachusetts is to receive $1.7 million, according to Healey’s office.
The clinics were charged in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut with installing crowns, extracting teeth and performing root canals that were not medically necessary. Many of those procedures were performed on children, according to the allegations.
An investigation lead by the U.S. Department of Justice also alleged the chain rewarded dentists for performing procedures that generated high revenue, pressured dentists to meet production goals and fired those who did not meet them.
In Massachusetts, Assistant Attorney General Stephany Collamore and investigator April Waterhouse, members of Healey’s Medicaid Fraud Division, lead the state’s inquiry.
Email Kevin P. O’Connor at email@example.com.