Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man stuck with ill-fitting dentures after dentist's arrest on Medicaid fraud charges

James Reynolds, 72, says the dentures he got from a dentist who was arrested on charges of Medicaid fraud can’t be worn while he’s eating. He has been consuming mushy foods only.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

James Reynolds, 72, says the dentures he got from a dentist who was arrested on charges of Medicaid fraud can’t be worn while he’s eating. He has been consuming mushy foods only.

HUDSON — In December, 72-year-old James Reynolds had all his teeth pulled out on the advice of Miranda Smith, a Spring Hill dentist recently arrested on fraud charges.

When he went for his dentures, they didn't even fit. When he wore them, they hurt. He went back "half a dozen" times, he said, but didn't get relief.

He found out about Smith's arrest on TV.

What about my dentures? he thought.

Reynolds' story echoed others in a 21-page affidavit charging Smith, 46, with more than $140,000 in Medicaid fraud and detailing multiple horror stories at her Smiles and Giggles Dentistry at 17020 County Line Road.

Smith's license was previously suspended but recently reinstated. No one could be reached at the Florida Department of Health for the details of the renewal. Smith's husband, Donald, said the practice was reopened for business this month.

Smith's criminal case is proceeding, though no hearings have been set.

Reynolds lives alone in a modest home in Hudson. He lives strictly off Social Security, he said, and has about $50 left every month after he pays his bills.

With sores in his mouth from the ill-fitting teeth, he tried calling Smith's office, but he got no answer. He visited the building and was greeted by a sign that said the practice was closed "TEMPORARILY until further notice," due to an administrative decision.

Reynolds, who has Medicare and Medicaid insurance plans through Simply Healthcare, finally went to another dentist.

"They told me, 'Those dentures are too big for your mouth, and they're made incorrectly,' " he said.

But when he tried to get new ones, he was denied because he's eligible for only one pair every five years.

Betsy Henao, senior director of corporate marketing at Simply Healthcare, said Smith is no longer a doctor on the plan. The company had received Reynolds' appeal for new teeth, she said.

In the meantime, he has been eating nothing but mushy food — "gummin' the heck out of stuff," he said.

"Right now I'm living on TV dinners," he said. "All I want is a regular diet."

He heard the good news on Friday: He was approved for a new set of dentures.

When asked what his first meal would be with his new teeth, he said: "It's going to be something besides soft food, I can guarantee you that."

Contact Jon Silman at (727) 869-6229, jsilman@tampabay.com or @Jonsilman1 on Twitter.

Man stuck with ill-fitting dentures after dentist's arrest on Medicaid fraud charges 06/13/14 [Last modified: Friday, June 13, 2014 9:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  3. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  4. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  5. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)