Mom looking for answers after son gets unauthorized dental work - | WBTV Charlotte

Mom looking for answers after son gets unauthorized dental work

(WBTV photo) (WBTV photo)
Brenda Miller (WBTV photo) Brenda Miller (WBTV photo)
(WBTV photo) (WBTV photo)

Brenda Miller was stunned one recent afternoon when she was called to pick up her son from school and discovered he had had three cavities filled that day.

Miller had just taken her son, a fifth grader at Pageland Elementary School, to the dentist the day earlier and was told three baby teeth with cavities didn’t need to be filled because they were close to falling out.

But that didn’t stop a non-profit group that provides medical services from filling his teeth anyways.

The work was done by CareSouth-Carolina. The group has an agreement with the Chesterfield County School District to provide dental services to its students who are covered by Medicaid or do not have any insurance.

Miller’s family has insurance and was seen by his dentist the day before, so he should not have been seen by CareSouth, she said.

“I was upset, I was really upset and I cried on the way to school,” Miller said. “I cried and I cried and I was like, what is going on?”

In statements emailed to On Your Side Investigates, both CareSouth-Carolina and the school district acknowledge the mistake.

CareSouth’s CEO, Anne Lewis, said the mix-up happened because Miller’s son’s name was only one letter off from another student, who was supposed to receive services from the group.

Lewis issued a statement that reads, in part: "The incident you referenced in Chesterfield county with the children that had almost identical names except for the first letter of their first name, has revealed an opportunity for improvement of our operational processes and has been taken very seriously by all parties involved.  CareSouth Carolina, since 2000, has been accredited by the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Health Care Organizations. This  is a high level of accreditation that instills quality and performance that not many ambulatory organizations achieve.  Relevant to this case, we have not only implemented our own internal process of risk management and performance improvement, but we have also engaged the Joint Commission in a self-reporting process to improve our operations and prevent occurrences of this nature.”

Similarly, the school district’s superintendent, Dr. Harrison Goodwin said the incident happened because proper policies weren’t followed.

"The situation, however, that we dealt with was very unfortunate and should have been avoided. We expect our partners to adhere to the standards, guidelines, and regulations that guide and direct their particular field. There was a breakdown in following some of those regulations in this case and as soon as the district was aware, we contracted the administration of CareSouth to report the matter. CareSouth responded immediately and has given us assurance that they have taken the proper corrective actions to avoid similar cases in the future." Goodwin said. "We value the relationship with CareSouth and we appreciate their mission to provide these type services. Our district has partnered for many years with CareSouth and has enjoyed a positive working relationship in meeting the needs of our students and families that have needed access to their services. We believe that this positive relationship will continue.”

But Miller said she still has yet to hear an explanation or apology from the school district. She said she just wants answers.

“It’s like we’re left in the dark,” she said. “I feel the school failed us, you know, being the parents.”

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