A Floyd County dentist pleaded guilty on Aug. 25 to a charge of federal healthcare fraud for which he faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

According to a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky Robert M. Duncan, Denver Tackett, 66, of McDowell, entered the guilty plea, admitted he had submitted more than $95,000 in reimbursement claims to Kentucky Medicaid and its fiscal intermediaries for medically unnecessary dental procedures.

Tackett was indicted in April 2019 as part of the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force initiative.

According to the plea agreement in the case, Tackett owned and operated Tackett Family Dentistry in McDowell. While operating the business, the agreement said, Tackett performed, and submitted claims for, dental procedures that were not reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of a patient’s illness or injury.

“For instance, (Tackett) submitted claims for ‘surgical’ extractions when (1) he had only performed a ‘simple’ extraction (a lower reimbursing procedure); or (2) a ’surgical’ extraction was not medically reasonable or necessary given the patient's condition and needs,” the agreement said. “Additionally, (Tackett) submitted separate claims for medically unnecessary alveoloplasty procedures that were related or incidental to one or more medically unnecessary extractions. The Defendant also submitted claims for ‘emergency palliative’ care without sufficient medical need or justification. Further, the Defendant submitted claims for ‘incise and drain’ procedures when he had not actually performed a reimbursable ‘incise and drain’ procedure or the ‘incise and drain’ was related to an earlier, unnecessary extraction.”

As part of his plea agreement, Tackett agreed to permanently surrender his Drug Enforcement Administration registration and agreed to refrain from seeking registration in the future.  Without a DEA registration, healthcare professionals are not able to lawfully prescribe controlled substances. Tackett also agreed to pay restitution of at least $70,000, and agreed to a forfeiture money judgement of $20,000.

Tackett is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 15.

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