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Hudson dentist accused in criminal, civil cases

This Carmichael Road dentistry closed in recent weeks following criminal and civil allegations levied against its owner, Andy Mancini. Mike Longaecker / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Andy Mancini2 / 2

A Woodbury man who billed himself as Hudson's top-rated children's dentist has closed his practice while criminal and civil cases make their way through two Wisconsin counties.

An outgoing voice message at La Petite Dentistry states the Carmichael Road office is "permanently closed." The practice was owned by Dr. Andy Mancini, a Woodbury resident who faces four misdemeanor charges and has sued his accuser for other allegations she has made against him.

The state of Wisconsin has also filed a civil case seeking a money judgment against Mancini, alleging he submitted false claims to the state for Medicaid reimbursements. A complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court alleges La Petite submitted claims for services that were medically unnecessary, not performed and performed by unlicensed workers. He also billed program recipients for no-show fees in violation of state and federal Medicaid rules, according to that complaint.

Attorneys from the Hudson law office of Heywood, Cari and Anderson are representing Mancini in the various cases. One of those lawyers, Ryan Cari, said his office has "no comment on this matter."

The complainant in Mancini's criminal case, Hudson resident Rachel Anderson, sought and received a restraining order against Mancini on June 14, 2017. The order was vacated on Aug. 30.

Mancini filed suit against the woman Aug. 24, alleging she filed a false police report that claimed he sexually assaulted her. Hudson police detective Hillary Lundberg said reports involving those allegations were forwarded to prosecutors but have not been charged.

Anderson said she "absolutely" stands behind the allegations.

"I have to stand behind the truth," she said.

The criminal charges date back to Anderson's first visit to La Petite, outlined in a criminal complaint.

According to the complaint:

Anderson reported concerns on May 23, 2017, about her dentist.

She told Hudson police she'd gone to La Petite Dentistry on May 1 for an appointment and got a phone call later in the day from an unknown number.

Anderson didn't answer the first time, but she did after the unknown number called again a few minutes later. Mancini was on the line and told her he needed to see her, "to take care of her mouth," the complaint states.

The woman told Mancini she would call his office the next day to schedule an appointment. Mancini told her not to contact the office, but rather to go through him directly. The complainant "found this unusual," the charging document states, but she let it go.

The woman received more calls a week later from the unknown number. On May 16, 2017, the woman brought her child into La Petite to see Mancini for tooth pain. She took several calls six days later from an unknown number.

Hudson police met with Mancini and his lawyer on June 2. He told an investigator he didn't know who the woman was and denied calling her.

Police subpoenaed Mancini's phone records through Verizon and learned he had called her from his cellphone twice on May 1 and again on May 8, along with six more calls on May 22.

The detective noted that Verizon records indicated most of the calls from Mancini's to the woman were blocked.

Mancini was charged with three counts of misdemeanor phone threats and one count of misdemeanor obstructing an officer. He has entered not guilty pleas to all charges.

The case was set for trial during a Thursday, April 26, hearing in St. Croix County Circuit Court. District Attorney Michael Nieskes requested the trial date, but told Judge Scott Needham a resolution was still possible.

A one-day trial was scheduled for Aug. 13.

Medicaid-related allegations

Meanwhile, a July 9 hearing is set in Madison for the state's civil case against Mancini.

According to that complaint:

Mancini submitted five years' worth of false claims for periapical radiographic images that are deemed "medically unnecessary" by the state. In order to be eligible for Medicaid reimbursement for those claims, the images must display the entire root of a tooth. La Petite sent in 219 such claims.

The dentistry also submitted 22 Medicaid claims for work done on teeth that were about to fall out.

Mancini is also accused of performing unnecessary tooth extractions. One incident outlined by the state was from 2016, when a child had a cleaning, X-rays, sealants and five teeth pulled. The dentist's office then approached the patient's mother to sign a document for the tooth extraction. The mother said she wasn't aware of the procedure and hadn't consented to five teeth being pulled from her child's mouth.

Mancini is also accused of billing Medicaid for services he never performed. One of 24 false claims involved sealant applied to a tooth in October 2015. However, images of that patient's teeth from earlier in the year indicate the tooth was missing.

Additionally, La Petite billed three Medicaid recipients for missed appointments — a practice prohibited under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) handbook. The CMS considers missed appointments a part of providers' cost of doing business.

Another portion alleges billing for services performed by an unlicensed person in 15 separate incidents at La Petite, where, apart from Mancini, only unlicensed dental assistants worked. The practice is prohibited under state law.

Fifteen sealant procedures were performed between May 2013 and September 2016 by dental assistants at La Petite. Those represent false claims for Medicaid, according to the complaint.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072
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