Pediatric dental chain faces new complaints

A new complaint was filed against a local pediatric dental chain, Smiles 4 Kids. The chain is managed by Dr. Justin VanBibber and owned by Lone Peak Management.

The latest complaint was filed by the Washington State Dental Association with the Department of Health and the Dental Quality Assurance Commission.

The complaint alleges the dental offices in the chain, only refer patients to their other practices for oral surgery or orthodontia.

Dr. Chris Delecki is the president of the Washington State Dental Association.

"They're failing to disclose the fact the patient has other options besides their self-referrals to their own managed practices," said Dr. Chris Delecki, President of the Washington State Dental Association.

"Patients are often being asked to travel from Tumwater to Tacoma for their orthodontic care and these are Medicaid patients and for many of them transportation is one of the biggest things they face.

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The complaint includes an email apparently sent by the Smiles for Kids Regional manager to office managers.

"Patients in your offices should NOT be given options as to where they would like to go for their wisdom teeth extractions -- referring patients anywhere else is sending OUR business and money away and is therefore, unacceptable."

Dr. Delecki says patients should always be given several referrals for care.

The complaint also alleges Lone Peak management is getting kickbacks every time they use anesthesia.

"The contract with an anesthesia service and in doing so they receive a $170 dollar kickback into their pocketbooks for working with that company, that's illegal, " said Dr. Delecki.

Last month KIRO 7 reported a previous whistleblower complaint against Dr. Justin VanBibber.

Lisa Walker, a former office manager says Dr. VanBibber told employees to reuse disposable mouth pieces.

"That we reuse the Isolites. He asked I put them in the cold sterile and reuse them on patients and I refused," said Walker last month.

The package is clearly labeled "disposable," and says "re-use can result in the transmission of infectious pathogens."

Lisa Walker later quit her job and filed a complaint with the state.

Dr. VanBibber told KIRO-7 last month,

"Our practice is committed to providing the highest quality care and patient safety is our top priority. We always use sterilized equipment for all examinations and procedures. The allegations are highly misleading, riddled with inaccuracies and are being raised by a misinformed and disgruntled former employee."

KIRO 7 tried to talk to Dr. VanBibber at the Smiles 4 Kids in Lacey on Thursday. The parent of a patient said Dr. VanBibber treated his child at the Lacey clinic Thursday morning.

KIRO 7 was told Dr. VanBibber was not available. Dr. VanBibber didn't respond to email requests for comment.  Lone Peak Management has not responded to requests for comment.

The Dental Quality Assurance Commission is investigating Dr. VanBibber and told KIRO-7 there are seven open investigations concerning infectious disease control and billing issues.

According to the Medical Quality Assurance Commission, there are 28 open investigations into employees of Lone Peak Management, dentists and dental hygienists who work for and have previously worked at the clinics.