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Friday, May 25, 2018
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Judge’s ruling allows suspended Pasco dentist to reopen office

— A Pasco County dentist is practicing again after an appellate court granted a stay of her license suspension, but she still faces criminal charges on two counts of Medicaid fraud.

Miranda Smith was arrested in May, accused of finding cavities in a child when none existed and pulling healthy teeth to sell patients dentures in order to obtain higher Medicaid payments.

Smith, owner of Smiles and Giggles Dentistry for Children and Adults in Spring Hill, allegedly billed Florida’s Medicaid program more than $140,000 in dental services that were either unauthorized or not provided, according to authorities.

The case was investigated by the state attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud unit and the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

The criminal charges Smith faces are separate from the decision on the license suspension.

In the license-suspension case, her attorney, John Terrel, is appealing to the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee two allegations that were upheld by an administrative law judge. Those were that she improperly delegated professional responsibilities to her dental assistants and that she allowed the administration of anesthesia in a manner that violated Board of Dentistry rules.

The judge had recommended that the Board of Dentistry suspend her license for six months, fine her $10,000 and place her on probation for six months after the suspension ends.

One allegation in the license-suspension case was dismissed by the judge and four were dropped by the Florida Department of Health, according to court records.

Charges dropped or dismissed were that she aided unlicensed activity; that she operated her dental office below minimum acceptable standards; that she made deceptive representations; that she was incompetent or negligent by failing to meet the standards of care in diagnosis and treatment; and that she was guilty of fraud, deceit or misconduct

The stay of the suspension will be in effect until the appellate court rules, Terrel said Tuesday.

“Obviously, we would like them to overturn the decision,” he said.

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